Osteoporosis affects 10 million Americans, 8 million of whom are women. Women’s health is particularly important in the prevention of the disease, and nutrition can play an important role in its development. For example, the loss of estrogen during menopause can lead to nutrient deficiencies, which can cause bone fractures. The best way to prevent osteoporosis is to lead a bone-healthy lifestyle. Here are some ways you can prevent its development.
Building Strong Bones In Childhood
Building healthy bones starts in early childhood to adolescence, and a healthy lifestyle can prevent osteoporosis in later life. Although gender and genetics do play a role in who develops the condition, it can be prevented by intake of calcium. About half of children and adolescents consume less than the recommended calcium intake, and therefore are at higher risk of fractures and poor bone health. The intake of calcium and Vitamin D increases bone mass; therefore, introducing soya drinks with added calcium, and leafy greens such as kale and spinach to the diet early in life can help with osteoporosis prevention in adulthood.
Nutrition During Adulthood
Vitamin D is a key nutrient for bone health. This can be found in mushrooms. Exposure to around 15 minutes of sunlight per day encourages the production of Vitamin D in the skin. Protein deficiencies have been linked to impairment in bone mass; therefore, this is an essential nutrient for bone health. Include lots of lentils and chickpeas in your diet. Strength exercises also help to keep bones healthy and prevent fractures. In addition, the elimination of unhealthy habits such as smoking and alcohol consumption will also help bone health.
Osteoporosis In Older Adults
Adults over the age of 65 are susceptible to wrist, hip and spine fractures, with many being caused by falls inside and outside of the home. Malnutrition is common in older adults, as the body’s ability to absorb nutrients may be reduced. Many older adults also commonly do not feel hunger pangs the way that younger adults do, and may forget to eat. As mentioned, the menopause can also result in lower levels of nutrients; therefore, these should be replaced by following a balanced diet. Treatments available include estrogen modulators, but new treatments are being investigated, including the use of osteoanabolic agents (or SARMs), which could prove to be an innovative way of treating osteoporosis in older adults.
Good nutrition and healthy eating are the easiest ways to stave off many diseases and conditions, and are beneficial to bone health. Exercise to strengthen bones can also help to prevent the onset of osteoporosis in women.