How to Support Bone Health through Diet and Lifestyle

Q: What can I do to support bone health?

A: Excellent question! Simple lifestyle changes can have a big impact on our bone health. Here are a few things that you can start doing right now!

Exercise more.

Why? Research shows that only one in four men, and one in five women exercise enough. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends adults engage in weight-bearing exercise for 30 minutes most days of the week and incorporate strength building exercises — such as lifting weights and using resistance bands — two to three days per week. Weight-bearing exercise such as walking, jogging, hiking, and strength training are the best ways to preserve bone mass.

Even postmenopausal women experience an increase in bone density from performing weight bearing exercise.

Limit sodium.

Why? In addition to increasing risk of hypertension, high-sodium diets increase urinary calcium loss. The average American in their forties consumes 3,800 mg of sodium per day, that is 65 percent higher than the 2,300 mg recommended for young healthy individuals by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Incorporate calcium-rich foods instead of relying on calcium supplements.

Why? Several recent studies report that high dose calcium supplements are not absorbed well and may increase risk of cardiovascular events (heart attack and stroke) in women and men over the age of 50. The best dietary sources of calcium are dairy foods and dark leafy green vegetables.

Did you know that one cup of cows milk (or calcium fortified non-dairy milk) contains about 300 mg of calcium? Many cereals and juices are also fortified with calcium.

Eat more fruits and vegetables.

Why? Epidemiological surveys report a positive association between fruit and vegetable consumption and bone health later in life. The best sources are dark leafy greens like kale and collards which are also rich in vitamin K and other nutrients that support bone health.

Take a vitamin D supplement. Stay tuned for my next post to learn more!

Be well.

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