What Is Osteoporosis? And How Do I Prevent It?

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Maintaining strong bones is essential to your physical health. The human body is comprised of exactly 206 bones, about half of which are found in the feet and hands. Comprised mostly of collagen and calcium phosphate, they stabilize your body while protecting your internal organs from injury in the process. If you suffer from osteoporosis, however, your bones may lack the necessary strength to perform these tasks, thereby increasing the risk of injury.

 

Understanding Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bones become weaker. It’s normal for our bones to become weaker with age. In fact, statistics show that the average adult loses about 0.5% of his or her bone density each year after they’ve reached their 50th birthday. At age 60, for example, your bones will be about 5% less dense than they were when you were 50 years old. Osteoporosis, however, speeds up the rate at which you lose bone density. In fact, the word “osteoporosis” means “porous bones.” People who suffer from this bone disease have weaker, more fragile bones that are easily broken. This is why it’s important to make the necessary lifestyle changes to strengthen your bones.

 

Consume 1,000 to 1,200 Milligrams of Calcium Per Day

Protecting against osteoporosis requires adequate calcium intake. As mentioned above, bones are comprised of two main compounds: collagen and calcium phosphate. Your body produces collagen naturally, but it doesn’t produce calcium phosphate. Therefore, you’ll need to include calcium-rich foods and beverages in your diet to protect against this common bone disease. According to Harvard Health, adults younger than 50 years of age should consume 1,000 mg of calcium per day, while adults 50 years of age or older should consume 1,200 mg per day.

Some of the top calcium-rich foods and beverages include the following:

  • Cheese
  • Milk
  • Broccoli
  • Almonds
  • Whey protein powder
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Beans
  • Salmon
  • Oranges
  • Peas
  • Soy
  • Cabbage

 

Spend Time Outdoors

How can spending time outdoors lower your risk of osteoporosis? When you’re outside, you’ll be exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. And while prolonged exposure to UV rays can damage your skin, the right amount is actually beneficial because it stimulates your body’s production of vitamin D. Along with calcium, our bodies use vitamin D to build new bone tissue. If you don’t get enough of this essential vitamin in your daily life, your bones will become weaker, increasing your risk of developing osteoporosis.

 

 

Exercise

Exercising can lower your risk of osteoporosis by supporting your body’s production of new bone tissue. Light-resistance exercises place minor pressure on your bones, which tells your body that it needs to make stronger bones by producing new tissue.

 

Don’t Smoke

If you currently smoke, you should take the necessary steps to kick the habit. The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) explains that both smoking as well as exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk of osteoporosis. It’s unknown exactly how smoking can lead to this bone disease, though many experts believe it’s related to the vast number of toxins and chemicals within cigarette smoke. When your body is exposed to these chemicals on a regular basis, loss of bone density can occur more rapidly.

 

Include More Plants in Your Diet

According to a study published in the medical journal Bone Mineral Research, people who avoid plant-based foods in their diet were 88% more likely to suffer a hip fracture than their counterparts who consumed lots of plant-based foods. Plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, contain a plethora of vitamins and beneficial nutrients, many of which support healthy bones. Unfortunately, statistics show that 90% of Americans don’t consume enough plant-based foods in their diet, which is probably the reason why osteoporosis rates are so high.

 

Limit Caffeine Intake

There’s nothing wrong with drinking a single cup of coffee in the morning, but you should use caution to avoid consuming much caffeine in your diet. Although it provides a boost of energy in the mornings, caffeine also triggers the release of calcium in the body. When this occurs, your body essentially loses some of its calcium. As a result, there’s less calcium available for building new bone tissue. Keep your caffeine intake to a minimum so that it doesn’t leave you susceptible to osteoporosis.

 

Eat More Onions

While all or most plant-based foods include beneficial nutrients, onions are particularly beneficial in regards to bone health. A study cited by WebMD suggests that a compound in onions known as GPCS acts as a natural protectant of bone loss. As a side benefit, onions also contain antioxidant compounds that fight off disease-causing free radicals. Whether raw or cooked, include more onions in your diet to take advantage of these benefits.

 

Whether you currently suffer from osteoporosis or if you simply want to protect yourself from this bone disease, contact us today. Atlanta Chiro and Wellness offers a wide range of services to support strong bones.

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