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4 Things You Need to Know for Good Bone Health

October 27, 2017

About 1.5 million bone fractures occur each year in the U.S., leading to 500,000 hospitalizations, 800,000 emergency room visits and more than 2.6 million doctors’ visits, according to the U.S. Surgeon General’s report.

Osteoporosis, or bone disease, becomes a greater risk as you get older, but taking steps to strengthen your bone health now can reduce your risk of fractures or other injuries that could result in a hospital stay or worse. Here are a few ways you can develop and maintain good bone health:

Eat Your Calcium

If you’re under 50, you should eat 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day. If you’re over 50, 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day will help you maintain good bone health.

Calcium supplements can help you meet this requirement, but it’s even better to get this nutrient from food sources, like dairy, greens, canned salmon or sardines with soft bones, tofu, soybeans and almonds.

Get Enough Sun

While rel="noopener noreferrer" you should be cautious about exposure to UV radiation, sunlight (via UVB rays) converted into Vitamin D after rel="noopener noreferrer" contacting your skin is key to bone health and helps your body absorb calcium, so it’s critical that you get enough of it.

You don’t need to sit outside in the sun all day to do this. Instead, get this nutrient from dietary sources, like milk, eggs, salmon or tuna. Mushrooms can also contain Vitamin D if grown under UV lights. Milk is the best source of Vitamin D — about one eight-ounce glass provides 25 percent of rel="noopener noreferrer" your daily requirement. 

Get Moving

Exercise also is good for bone health because it helps increase bone density. Bone is a tissue just like muscle. Doing weight-bearing exercises, like walking and lifting weights, can increase muscle strength. In addition to bone strength, another benefit of exercise is that it improves balance and coordination. 

Other Ways to Improve Bone Health

As I’ve already mentioned, diet is critical to building bone strength. But what you don’t eat is equally as important as what you do eat.

It’s critical rel="noopener noreferrer" to watch your sodium intake because high levels of sodium have been linked to calcium loss. The average American diet is filled with far too much salt. Most Americans consume 3,400 milligrams of salt a day — far above the recommended 2,300 milligrams a day. Limiting your consumption of processed foods is one of the best ways to reduce your sodium intake, as is using other types of seasonings in your food, like basil, rosemary, garlic, cayenne, chives, oregano or rel="noopener noreferrer" ginger. All these herbs and spices add a lot of flavor without the health risks that come with consuming too much sodium.

Osteoporosis affects 200 million people globally, leading to bone fractures and other injuries that can affect a person’s mobility and quality of life. Take steps now to strengthen your bones and build bone density, whether that means getting more exercise, consuming more dairy products, green leafy veggie and other sources of vitamin D and calcium, or reducing your sodium intake. Taking nutritional supplements also can help, but be sure to run this past your doctor first, especially if you are taking prescribed medication.

Follow all these tips and you could maintain good bone health well into your later years.

Are you interested in learning more about our Clinical Nutrition team?

Our team of nutrition experts works in the treatment and prevention of disease using nutrition therapy and is an important part of the multidisciplinary healthcare team. Our RDs and DTRs work in both inpatient hospital settings and outpatient clinics throughout Orlando Health.

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