Building and Maintaining Strong Bones
In osteoporosis, the bones lose both minerals and protein and as we get older, this increases the risk of fracture. Although osteoporosis is more common in women, it is now being diagnosed with increasing frequency in men.
It is far better to prevent osteoporosis than to try to treat or cure it, and this means building up strong bones in the first 30 years of life. However, it is never too late to pay proper attention to your bones and recent research shows that even in later years the condition can be slowed down or even reversed.
How is this done? You can strengthen your bones if you take the following measures:
- Eat a diet that contains plenty of calcium, but make sure that it is balanced with a good supply of magnesium. Other helpful nutrients are boron, manganese, copper and vitamin K.
- Make sure that you obtain enough vitamin D in your diet and by exposing your skin to the sun, without sunscreen lotion, for 10 minutes before 10 am or in the late afternoon. Never expose unprotected skin for any longer.
You can also minimize the loss of calcium from the bones by:
- Avoiding too much protein in the diet: this helps to prevent a high phosphorus intake
- Cutting down on caffeine (in tea, coffee, and many over-the-counter painkillers), salt and alcohol
- Giving up smoking.
- Taking exercise for 30 minutes at least three times a week. Walking will help to protect the bones in your legs and spine. Tennis, rowing, gardening or simple weight training will strengthen the upper body.
- Avoiding laxatives and antacids that contain aluminium (if they are needed, use those that contain calcium).
- Not reducing your weight to below that recommended for your height.
- Women may wish to consider hormone replacement therapy in consultation with their doctor.