Although there is no cure for osteoporosis, there are a number of things you can do to help prevent this bone disease from developing, or to assist the body once osteoporosis has formed.
- Calcium is a major building block of our bone tissue and is important for preventing osteoporosis and bone disease.
- Calcium levels in the blood, which are essential for nerves and muscles, are maintained by the calcium in our bones, which acts as a reservoir.
- The amount of calcium our bodies require changes according to age.
- The body’s ability to absorb calcium declines with age, and this is one of the reasons why seniors require higher amounts.
- In order to help prevent osteoporosis, or assist the body once it’s formed, it’s important to get in enough calcium rich foods.
- Dairy products such as milk, yoghurt, cheese and butter
- Green vegetables (kale, broccoli, bok choy, spinach, etc.)
- Canned fish with soft edible bones (the calcium is found in their bones) such as salmon, pilchards and sardines
- Nuts – especially almonds and Brazil nuts
- Vitamin D helps in assisting the absorption of calcium from food in your intestines, as well as for ensuring the correct renewal and mineralisation of bone tissue. It is therefore essential for the maintenance and development of bone.
- Vitamin D is manufactured in your skin when exposed to ultraviolet rays, but it can also be obtained from food and dietary supplements, which include:
Oily fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel, Eggs and Liver.
- Emerging evidence suggestions that a minimum blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D that would be optimal for fracture prevention is 70-80 nmol/l.
- In order for this to be achieved, an average older man or woman would need a vitamin D intake of at least 800-1000 IU/day (20-25 µg/day), which is approximately double the intake recommended in most countries.
Exercise is essential for bone health at any age. It is never too late to start a health bone exercise programme, even if you are at high risk for the disease, or have already developed osteoporosis.
- Because exercise strengthens bones and muscles, it can help prevent the falls and fall-related fractures that so often result in disability or premature death.
- Exercise also helps improve balance, coordination and flexibility.
- According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, walking and weight lifting are two of the best exercises you can do to help with building and maintaining bone density.
- Walking makes you work against gravity while staying upright.
- Weight lifting makes you work against gravity in a standing or sitting position.