Today we conclude our 8 hints to help you keep stronger, healthier bones no matter your age…
5. Drink green tea
Our last hint was to avoid an excess of caffeine, so you might think you should avoid tea, but, perhaps paradoxically, green tea is good for your bones. A meta-study (which evaluated the findings from 14 previous research studies) published this year in Osteoporosis International, demonstrated a reduced hip fracture risk in people who drink 1 to 4 cups of green tea per day. The greatest benefit was in those drinking 2 to 3 cups per day—a 37% reduced risk.
Tea (particularly the green and white varieties) is one of the best dietary sources of polyphenol antioxidants. Tea acts as an anti-inflammatory agent that decreases the rate of bone absorption and increases the rate of new bone cell production.
Besides the possible benefit to your bones, tea provides a myriad of other health benefits. Drinking a couple cups of green tea daily is a wise and simple nutritional step that can help you in many ways.
6. Keep a check on your hormone levels
As you approach middle age and beyond, keep your hormone levels in mind. Checking thyroid levels occasionally is wise, as high thyroid levels can lead to bone loss, and women who have prolonged periods without menstruation (prior to menopause) need special attention, as they also have an increased risk of osteoporosis. Likewise, men with low testosterone levels suffer the same risk.
7. Avoid smoking, second-hand smoke, and excessive alcohol
Smokers have weaker bones and run a higher risk of fractures. The World Health Organization notes a 71% higher risk of hip fractures at age 80 in smokers. And with more evidence pointing to the dangers of second hand smoke, a good policy is to ban smoking in your home and car.
Moderate use of alcohol does not seem to be bad for your bones, but women who drink more than one drink per day on average, or men who drink more than two per day, develop softer bones (one mechanism is diminished calcium absorption).
8. Get adequate calcium and vitamin D
Adults up to age 50 need at least 1000 milligrams of calcium daily, and older adults should have 1200 milligrams or more. Good sources are low-fat milk (3 cups per day) and fortified soy milk. If you prefer milk but it upsets your stomach, try lactose free milk. Alternative calcium sources include cheese, yogurt, and fortified orange juice. Vegetarians need to pay close attention to their calcium intake to avoid a deficiency. Certain vegetables and fish are calcium sources, but you need to do further research on your diet if you avoid dairy.
Vitamin D you can pick up from about 15 minutes of daily sun exposure to unprotected skin, but if you avoid sun or during winter months, make sure you are getting adequate vitamin D from fortified milk or orange juice. Alternatively, fatty fish is a good source. However, if you were to choose just one vitamin supplement to take, vitamin D would probably be the one. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to many health problems, and vitamin D is necessary for calcium in your diet to be absorbed.
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