NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County

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Be Bone Healthy

Be Bone Healthy

Osteoporosis is a silent disease that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to fracture or break. Bone fractures usually occur in the spine, hips or wrist. There are several risk factors for osteoporosis that cannot be changed. They include: being female; being postmenopausal, having a small skeleton, being Caucasian or Asian; having a family history of osteoporosis and fractures and advanced age.

There fortunately are also many risk factors that can be changed: medications with negative effect on bone density; inadequate or excessive intake of nutrients, a sedentary lifestyle, excessive exercise; low body weight, cigarette smoking and a high level of alcohol consumption.

Adequate calcium intake throughout life is important to maximize calcium storage in the bones during the growing years and to minimize bone loss in later years.  On the other hand, too much calcium can have serious side effects. Consuming too much calcium may lead to dizziness, kidney problems, constipation, fatigue and poor absorption of iron, zinc and other nutrients.

Adequate vitamin d helps increase the absorption of calcium. Vitamin D is made in the s kin after exposure to sunlight. It only requires 10-15 minutes of sun exposure three times a week on the face, hands and arms to meet vitamin D needs.  Sunscreens will decrease the formation of vitamin D in the skin. If you regularly use sunscreens, you will need to vitamin D from your diet or take a supplement. The current recommendations are for 600 International Units of vitamin for ages 1-70.  Past 70, that recommendation moves up to 8000 IU. Good dietary sources of vitamin D are fortified foods, fortified milk, egg yolks, liver, sardines and salmon.

It is never too late to make positive changes to your lifestyle and eating habits to help prevent osteoporosis.  One of the easiest ways to reduce your risk of osteoporosis is to consume adequate amount s of vitamin D and calcium in your daily diet.  Current recommended intakes for calcium for a few select age groups are 200 mg per day for infants 0-6 months, 700 mg for children 1-3 years old; 1,3000mg per day for adolescents 9-18 years old and 1,2000 mg per day for adults over 70 years of age.

To increase calcium in your diet:

Eat foods labeled “high”, ”rich in”, “excellent source” or ”good source” of calcium.

Consume 3 servings per day of reduced-fat milk products daily.

Use reduced fat cheeses as toppings and snacks.

Substitute reduced fat yogurt or milk for water in pancakes.

Use reduced-fat yogurt in place of mayonnaise in salad dressings and dips

Strawberry Smoothie

1 ½ C. strawberries

8 oz. vanilla low-fat yogurt

¾ c. skim milk

1 T. brown sugar

1/8 tsp. cinnamon

In blender, combine yogurt, strawberries, milk , brown sugar and cinnamon. Blend until smooth. Makes 4 (6-oz) servings.  110 calories per serving, 150 mg. calcium.

 

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