MAKE NO BONES ABOUT IT…
Anyone who has ever broken a bone can tell you not only how painful it is, but what an inconvenience it can be. While the bone heals it may be hard to move and difficult to lift, walk, or even stand. Make no bones about it… bones are important. Nutrition is an important part of bone health for people of all ages. We help you bone up on the facts…
THE IMPORTANCE OF BONES
We may think of our bones as something hard, permanent and fixed. However, bone is a living, growing tissue. It consists of collagen (a protein) and calcium (a mineral). Our bones, like our skin, are in a constant state of replenishment and regrowth.
The National Institutes of Health puts it this way: “Think of your bones as a “bank” where you “deposit” and “withdraw” bone tissue. During your childhood and teenage years, new bone is added (or deposited) to the skeleton faster than old bone is removed (or withdrawn). As a result, your bones become larger, heavier, and denser.”
As we age, we’re depositing in the bone bank until about the age 30, at which point we’re making more withdrawals than deposits. Nutrition is an important factor in keeping our bone bank as strong as possible, and can help prevent osteoporosis and osteoarthritis in the elderly.
Among the elderly in the U.S. who break a hip, 20-30% will die within the next twelve months according to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Nutrition can help improve those statistics.
NUTRITION FOR HEALTHY BONES
The main ingredient that contributes to bone health is calcium. But how much do you need? Read the nutrition label on packaged foods and you’ll see the percentages, based on the standard of 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day. The elderly who are fighting osteoporosis or osteoarthritis are often required to ingest 1,500 milligrams per day in three doses of 500.
BREAKFAST FOODS HIGH IN CALCIUM
- Cereal, calcium-fortified, 1 cup
- Milk (nonfat, 2%, whole, or lactose-reduced), 1 cup
- Orange juice, calcium-fortified
- Soy milk, calcium-fortified, 8 ounces
- Yogurt, 1 cup
LUNCH OR DINNER FOODS HIGH IN CALCIUM
The other key nutrient for bone health is vitamin D. Many of the foods high in calcium are also high in vitamin D. You can get the “D” from being in the sunshine as well.
- Broccoli, raw, 1 cup
- Canned salmon, 3 ounces
- Canned sardines, 3 ounces
- Cheddar cheese, 1 ounce
- Kale cooked, 1 cup
- Swiss cheese, 1 ounce
- Turnip greens, 1 cup
FOODS TO AVOID
There are also foods to avoid, particularly for those with osteoarthritis.
Bad bone foods include:
As with most other nutrition and health topics, it’s a good idea to do more of the stuff that’s good for you and less of the stuff that’s bad. Be strong!
- Refined carbohydrates such as those with enriched flour and sugar
- Meat and eggs which contain saturated fat and can also increase the risk for heart disease, some cancers and obesity
- Trans fats which are created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil and can be found in shortening, margarine and foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oil