NDSU Extension - Mercer County


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Nourish Your Bones, Joints for Optimal Health

bone or joint disease, diet for bone health, calcium, NDSU Extension Nourishing Boomers and Beyond program

Submitted by Dena Kemmet, Extension Agent/Family and Consumer Sciences

If you suffer from bone or joint disease or you know someone who does, then you know how difficult living with it can be.

Bones are a living tissue and in a constant state of change, repairing or demolishing.

Without joints, we wouldn’t be able to move because bone would be grinding against bone.

A need for strength makes the bones rigid, but if the skeleton consisted of only one solid bone, movement would be impossible. Nature has solved this problem by dividing the skeleton into many bones and creating joints where the bones intersect. Joints, also known as articulations, are strong connections that join the bones, teeth, and cartilage of the body to one another. Each joint is specialized in its shape and structural components to control the range of motion between the parts that it connects.

You can protect yourself against bone disease and joint damage by following a diet rich in minerals (think dark leafy greens and broccoli), engaging in weight-bearing exercise such as walking, and using dietary supplements wisely.

Many different forms of calcium are available in pill form. Calcium carbonate, calcium citrate, calcium malate, lactate, glucarate, microcrystalline hydroxyapatite and coral calcium are just some examples.

No matter what type of calcium you decide to take, be sure to check the milligram amount of calcium in each pill and consider your dietary intake to determine how many pills to take each day. Most experts suggest taking calcium with meals and only take 500 mg at one time.

Remember, too much alcohol and/or smoking is related to decreased bone mass. Also, staying at a healthy weight is important to put less strain on your joints.

If you’d like to make some changes in your diet or lifestyle to improve your bone and joint health, the North Dakota State University Extension Service can help. The Extension office in Mercer County is holding a class at 3 p.m., Monday, June 23 at the Beulah Civic Center.

This class is part of NDSU Extension’s Nourishing Boomers and Beyond program. The program is designed to provide rural North Dakotans age 50 and older with information and strategies to reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases. However, any adult can benefit from the information.

Nourishing Boomers and Beyond offers classes on a different topic each month. Participants will be able to take part in hands-on activities and discussions, and they’ll receive material such as handouts and healthful recipes to take home.

Visit the program’s website at www.ndsu.edu/boomers if you aren’t able to attend a class or want more information on the topic covered in a session. Anyone can sign up for the free monthly newsletter by visiting the website or contacting your local Extension office. Also visit www.ndsu.edu/boomers.

Things you’ll learn about in June include important facts about supplements, safe exercises for bone and joint health, and the best foods to prevent problems in bones and joints.

Source: Julie Garden Robinson, NDSU Food and Nutrition Specialist


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