6 ways to Prevent Osteoporosis
By John Goh
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that develops slowly. Osteoporosis causes your bones to become fragile and more likely to break. Here is a summary of 6 preventive measures you can take to prevent osteoporosis.
1. Do regular weight-bearing exercise
Muscle pulling on bone builds bone, so weight-bearing exercise builds denser, stronger bones. The exercises also improve your posture. Exercising the back muscles helps the whole body become more upright.
The best exercises for building bone include weight-lifting, jogging, hiking, stair-climbing, step aerobics, dancing, racquet sports, and other activities that require your muscles to work against gravity. Swimming and walking, although good for cardiovascular fitness, are not the best exercises for building bone.
2. Go for a bone mineral density test
A Bone Mineral Density test (BMD) is the only way to diagnose osteoporosis and determine your risk for future fracture. Since osteoporosis can remain undetected for decades until a fracture occurs, early diagnosis is important.
A BMD measures the density of your bones or your bone mass. The test determines whether you need medication to help maintain your bone mass, prevent further bone loss and reduce fracture risk.
3. Take enough calcium in your diet
Inadequate calcium intake is known to contribute to the development of osteoporosis. Taking calcium from diary products is over-rated though as our bodies were never designed to take in the milk of cows.
Depending on your age, an appropriate calcium intake falls between 1000 and 1300 mg a day.
Avoid phytic acid, oxalic acid and sodium as they affect your body's ability to absorb calcium.
4. Get enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D is needed for the body to absorb calcium from the foods you eat. Vitamin D comes from two sources: through the skin following direct exposure to sunlight and from the diet.
An exposure of 10 to 15 minutes of sun for at least two times per week is usually sufficient to provide adequate vitamin D. If you cannot get sunlight, vitamin D can be derived from foods like salmon, mackerel, tuna and egg yolk.
5. Take ample fruits and vegetables
Take five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily. A recent study found that women who consumed 3.5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily had greater bone density than those who did not. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of magnesium and potassium, two major nutrients that protect bones besides calcium and vitamin D.
6. Change your cooking oil to coconut oil
Coconut oil has been used to treat people that have deficiency in calcium. Coconut oil enhances the absorption and retention of minerals like calcium and magnesium. The medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil been used to treat children suffering from rickets, which is a condition that involves demineralisation and softening of the bones.
The free radicals from oxidized vegetable oils interfere with bone formation, promoting the development of osteoporosis. The saturated fats in coconut oil act as anti-oxidants that protect the bones from destructive free radicals. That is why one should avoid processed vegetable oils and use coconut oil for cooking instead.
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