- Aging & Longevity
How To Protect Your Bones To Prevent Osteoporosis
Our Bones Age With Us
Osteoporosis is a disease that depletes and weakens the bones over time. This is more prevalent amongst elderly people, especially if the person is over 50 years old. But you should not wait until you are 50 to prove this point. As they said, prevention is better than cure. “Osteoporosis” literally means “porous bones”. The bones gradually lose bone mass and thereby become weak over time. Bones are also living cells subject to depletion and replenishment. When depletion is greater than replenishment, osteoporosis gradually sets in. The process is very gradual and often without any symptoms or pain. The result is an increase in the risk of sudden or accidental fractures, some of which may be serious, even fatal.
The main cause of osteoporosis is aging. Our bone mass peaks at around 30 years of age. After this, there will be gradual loss in bone density and strength. Aging, as we all know, is an inevitable process in life. There is no way we can avoid this process, although some “smart-alecks” may think we can overcome this. Just dream on.
Someone sent me an email giving “10 Golden Rules To Protect Your Bones”. I find this to be useful information and I wish to share with you here in this article, plus some other relevant information. I will cover all of these rules under “9 Golden Rules” instead of 10 because two of them overlap.
Risk Factors For Osteoporosis
Below is a list of risk factors for developing osteoporosis.
Age. The older you are, the greater the risk of developing osteoporosis. After age 30, the bone mass begins to decline. And on reaching menopause, coupled with less sex hormones, the risk increases.
Gender. Females are four times more prone to developing osteoporosis than males. This is because of the lighter bone density in females.
Ethnicity. Research data show that Caucasian and Asian women are more prone to suffer from osteoporosis.
Bone Structure And Body Weight. People with larger frames and more body weights are less likely to suffer from osteoporosis. This is because they have more bone mass and can withstand bone loss better than thinner and smaller people.
Family And Prior History. Heredity is one serious risk for osteoporosis. So if your parents or grandparents have a history of osteoporosis, you need to take greater precaution. Also, if you have suffered broken bones before, you need to be more careful as well.
Smoking And Alcohol. Smoking and alcohol consumption will increase the risk of suffering from osteoporosis.
Related diseases. Some diseases may increase the risk of developing osteoporosis. One such disease is rheumatoid arthritis.
Medication. Certain medications may increase the risk of osteoporosis. Long term use of steroids such as prednisone can increase the risk of developing osteoporosis.
My Favorite Snacks:Natural Nutritious Nuts
9 Golden Rules To Protect Your Bones
Now, please let me share with you the nine golden rules for protecting your precious bones:
1. Physical exercise. Our body needs exercise to stay fit and healthy. There are certain exercises that are particularly effective for protecting and strengthening our bones. These are called the “weight-bearing” exercises, which work against gravity. Bones become denser when pressure is applied to them. Examples of “weight-bearing” exercises are walking, jogging, climbing or hiking, dancing, weightlifting and playing tennis.
2. Increase calcium intake. The immediate thought will be taking calcium supplements. I don’t think this is a good idea unless advised by the doctor because of some health problems. The best method is by the natural way. Eat plenty of calcium-rich foods and vegetables. Examples are sardines, nuts, soybeans, and green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, okra (lady’s fingers) and celery. In fact all green vegetables are rich in calcium. Many of you will also think of milk as a good source of calcium. Well, there are two good reasons why milk is not the best source of calcium. First, green vegetables have calcium-absorption rates of over 50%, while that of milk is only 32%. Second, contrary to common belief, milk is not such a healthy drink. I have written an article called “Milk Is Not Good For me”. You can go to the link to read it later.
3. Take more Omega-3 fatty acid. We need fatty acids for proper brain function, cardio-vascular health and healthy skin and organ tissues. The more important fatty acids are Omega 3, 7 and 9. Omega-3 is an “essential fatty acid” meaning that the body cannot produce it, and must depend on external sources. Products that are rich in Omega-3 are walnuts, avocados, olive oil, flax-seeds, soybeans, and cold-water fishes like salmon, tuna, halibut, herring, and cod.
4. Reduce alcohol and caffeine intake. Excessive intake of coffee and alcohol will cause the release of calcium from the bones, and affect hormonal balance in the body. Proper hormonal balance is important to keep bones strong and healthy.
5. Stop smoking. Everyone knows the danger of smoking. Smoking also damages the bone density.
6. Reduce eating red meat. Red meats are those meats which are red when raw and not white when cooked. All mammals’ meats can be classified as red meats, such as beef, lamb, pork, veal, venison and mutton. Red meats not only are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, they will also reduce the absorption of calcium in the body.
7. Eat more seeds and nuts. Different types of seeds and nuts have different nutritious elements. For bone building, apart from eating nuts with high calcium, choose those which have high magnesium content. Magnesium is an essential mineral for promoting strong bones by absorbing calcium. Nuts under this category include almonds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, pecans, peanuts, pine nuts, Brazil nuts and cashew nuts. Another key mineral for strong bones is zinc. Eat more sunflower seeds for they not only contain high magnesium content, they also have high zinc content. You should choose unsalted nuts.
8. Sufficient exposure to sunlight. Depending on where you live, sufficient exposure to sunlight is essential for the body to absorb vitamin D which helps to maintain bone density. If you are in temperate countries, 15 minutes of sun exposure should not harm your skin. But if you are from the hot tropical countries like me, a few minutes under the sun is more than sufficient. Definitely not 15 minutes continuously under the scorching sun.
9. Ensure sufficient minerals and vitamins which promote strong bones. This is a "cover-all” insurance, somewhat technical. Please make sure your body has the sufficient amount of boron, silicone, calcium, magnesium, folic acid and vitamins C, D, B12 and B6. My opinion is that if I can satisfy the above 8 golden rules, I won’t be too worried about this last one.
The information provided in this article is sourced from the internet, from friends and contacts, and from personal experience. As I cautioned in many of my articles, not every remedy will work on everyone. So is conventional medical treatment. It very much depends on the constituents of the person and the conditions peculiar to that person. Whatever the reasons, this article does not claim the information provided is totally accurate and reliable and will cure everyone. The purpose of this article is merely to inform visitors that there are preventive methods to protect your bones and prevent osteoporosis.
You are therefore advised to consult your registered medical physicians as a matter of due diligence, if needed.
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