Bones are active tissue and require good nutrition and nutrients each day to meet maintenance needs and remain firm.

Taking care of your bones

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Newly released statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are a little shocking: One in four American women aged 65 and older have osteoporosis, a condition that weakens the bones and sharply increases risk for bone breaks and fractures. 

Almost 6 percent of older men have osteoporosis. Considering the number of baby boomers and the aging of America, it makes sense that there are such high numbers for osteoporosis since some bone loss does occur with aging.

Fortunately, there are some osteoporosis prevention steps to have in place. 

Osteoporosis means porous bones – they are not as solid, and therefore, at risk for breaking. Although fractures and breaks can happen anywhere in the body, the most common sites for bones breaks are the hip, spine and wrist. With these breaks comes a loss of independence and other health complications.

Osteoporosis can start as young as 40 to 50 years of age. Bones are active tissue and require good nutrition and nutrients each day to meet maintenance needs and remain firm.

Bone-building nutrients include:

  • Calcium: Dairy foods such as milk, yogurt and cheese, as well as calcium-fortified beverages such as soy and almond milks
  • Vitamin D: Fatty fish such as sardines, tuna and mackerel
  • Potassium: White and sweet potatoes, dried beans and peas, bananas, oranges, melons
  • Vitamin C: Oranges and grapefruit, kiwi, berries, potatoes, greens, peppers, cabbage    

These may cause accelerate bone loss, so tread carefully:

  • Salt and salty foods  
  • Too much caffeine from coffee, tea and sodas  
  • Colas  
  • Excessive alcohol – stay to one drink for women and 2 drinks for men, if you choose to drink

Eat three squares to be sure that your nutritional bone needs are being met. And be sure there are three servings of calcium daily, for example:

  • Breakfast: Smoothie made with milk and yogurt
  • Lunch: Grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup made with milk
  • Dinner: A baked potato topped with Greek yogurt and cheese

Recipes to try:

  • Ricotta Cheese Pancakes
  • Cheesy Mac with Vegetables
  • Yogurt-Berry Parfait


About the Author

Rita Smith is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's been working in the field of nutrition and disease prevention for more than 35 years and currently works at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. Each week, Rita provides nutrition counseling to clients who have a variety of disorders or diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis and weight management. For these clients, food choices can help them manage their health problems.