According to the U.S. Dept. of Agricultural Research Service, women who walk about a mile or more on a daily basis lose bone more slowly than women who do little walking. It was established that such mile-per-day walkers had 7% more bone in their legs than the women who walked less than a mile a day.
Apart from walking, weight bearing exercises like jogging, stair climbing, hiking, aerobic dance and racquet sports are beneficial in slowing the rate of bone loss and helps in maintaining bone mass and muscle strength.
Fruits and Vegetables Fortify Bones:
Fruits and vegetables are a rich source of several nutrients like zinc, magnesium, potassium, fiber and vitamin C. These nutrients help in reducing bone loss. Several researches have established that higher intake of fruits and vegetables, particularly those rich in potassium, increase BMD and reduce the risk of fracture in older adults. Moreover, fruits and vegetables are rich in precursors to bicarbonate ions. These preserve the calcium in bones by buffering organic acids consumed in the diet or are generated metabolically.
In order to prevent osteoporosis, the diet should contain at least five servings of a variety of different colored fruits or vegetables on a daily basis. However, teenagers and adult women should have at least 7 servings, while teenagers and adult men should aim for 9 servings.
Inadequate calcium intake during childhood and adolescence can impair bone development. In the long run this and may prevent the bones from attaining the optimal peak bone mass. Although adequate calcium intake alone is not enough to prevent osteoporosis, a daily calcium intake of 1,300 mg for teenagers, 1,000 mg for adults 50 years of age or younger, or 1,200 mg for adults over the age of 50 is recommended. About 300 mg of calcium is present in an 8-ounce serving of calcium-fortified orange juice or nonfat milk or yogurt.
Excess Vitamin A (Retinol):
Excess intake of preformed vitamin A (retinol) reduces BMD and increases risk of osteoporotic fracture in older men and women. Researches established that long-term intake of more than 5,000 IU/day of preformed vitamin A (retinol) is detrimental to bone health. Hence only those multivitamin supplements that contain no more than 2,500 IU of vitamin A should be consumed.
Higher salt intake increases urinary calcium loss. Hence daily salt intake should be limited to 5.8 gms, which is 2.3 gms of sodium.
The role of dietary protein in bone health is complex. High protein intake increases urinary calcium excretion while low protein intake results in rapid BMD loss thereby increasing the risk of fracture in older adults. Thereby, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is 56 gms/day for adult men and 46 gms/day for adult women.
Vitamin D deficiency adversely affects bone health and increases the risk of osteoporosis. Sun exposure for 5 to 10 minutes on bare skin like arms and legs, two to three times a week provides sufficient vitamin D without causing skin damage. This can be increased by a daily intake of 400 IU vitamin D supplement. However, older adults who avoid sun exposure should take 800 IU of vitamin D supplement on a daily basis.
Osteoporosis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention
Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: November 17, 2012