Earlier this year, I was working a health fair and had the opportunity to have my bone density checked by the American Screening Association. I was a bit concerned because I pretty much gave up dairy last fall. As it turned out, my T-score was “off the charts” according to the clinician. She said that I was much higher than the norm in my age group and actually any other age groups. She wanted to know if was an athlete and working out every day! I was relieved and excited about this news. My results created quite a stir in the room of practitioners and everyone wanted to know my secret. I told them it was yoga and green juice every day! ;-) After the conversation with the clinician, I decided I needed to share this information as soon as possible.
Bones are active, living tissue and just like any living tissue has diverse nutritional and physical needs. Osteoporosis is a bone disease where the bones are weak and brittle and according to the National Osteporosis Foundation (NOF), 10 milion Americans have the disease with many more at risk.
Top tips to keep your bones healthy and strong:
1. Integrate a calcium-rich diet on a daily basis. According to NOF, adults over 50 need 1200 mg of calcium and 800-1000 IU of vitamin D per day. Low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, canned fish especially sardines or salmon with bones, soybeans, eggs, cereal and fortified milk and my favorite, dark green veggies are good sources of calcium.
2. Exercise regularly and engage in muscle-strengthening and weight-bearing activities like yoga, Tai Chi, walking, jogging, gardening, dancing (Zumba!), jumping rope, climbing and weightlifting. Bones are like muscles; the more you use them the stronger and denser they become.
3. Reduce your intake soft drinks, coffee and other foods with caffeine as they may increase bone loss.
4. Drink alcoholic beverages in moderation as excessive drinking may reduce calcium levels in the body and cause other health issues.
5. Eliminate the smokes. The chemicals in cigarettes are bad for your bone cells. Smoking also might make it harder to absorb calcium.
National Osteoporosis Foundation. (2011). About Osteoporosis>Having a Bone Density Test. Retrieved May 31, 2012, from National Osteoporosis Foundation: http://www.nof.org/aboutosteoporosis/detectingosteoporosis/bmdtest
American Screening Association. Screening results handout.