Osteoporosis means “porous bones.” While our bones are slightly porous, they are still dense and hard; hence hard to break. Osteoporosis decays the bone, causing it become more porous, thus more brittle, smaller in size, and misshapen.
Regardless of all of the factors that we cannot control that may lead to the development of osteoporosis, our choices concerning food intake and physical activity levels are by far the most important factors that we can control.
Our bones are comprised of a hard outer casing, spongy bone tissue underneath and marrow in the centers. Each bone also has its own supplies for blood and nerves. The bone tissues themselves are made up of various protein chains and minerals, like calcium.
Bones are constantly being broken down and regenerated – just like our skin tissues and many other cellular structures in our bodies. As we age, a variety of factors work in conjunction to make it so that our bones are not regenerated as rapidly as they break down. This is called osteoporosis.
Fast facts about osteoporosis:
- In the UK, almost 3,000,000 people have osteoporosis;
- 80% of those 3,000,000 are women;
- Nearly ¼ of a million new cases of osteoporosis are reported every year in the UK alone;
- For those over 50 years of age, one in every two women and one in every four men will break a bone during their lives due to osteoporosis.
What causes Osteoporosis?
Many times, there are no symptoms to be recognized as one develops osteoporosis. It often takes a bump, fall or other impact injury to cause a bone to snap. Because of this, we all need to be aware of the factors that may be causing osteoporosis to develop within us at all times.
- Age: Most generally, people begin to develop osteoporosis from their mid-forties onward;
- Gender: Women are far more likely to develop osteoporosis than are men;
- Size: Petite, thin people develop osteoporosis more readily;
- Ethnicity: Caucasian and Asian women are the highest risk groups. African-American and Hispanic women are at less risk for developing osteoporosis;
- Family history: The development of osteoporosis is strongly correlated to family genetics;
- Hormones: Low estrogen in women and low testosterone in men are contributing factors to the development of osteoporosis;
- Smoking and drinking: Those who smoke tobacco products and drink excessive amounts of alcohol are shown to develop osteoporosis more than those who don’t. That is directly due to the fact that smoking and drinking are symbolic of a more general lack of attention paid to living a healthy lifestyle.
Largest contributors to osteoporosis
Developing osteopenia (a low bone mass measurement) is often thought to be associated with a lack of calcium – and it is. However, your body also requires sufficient amounts of vitamin D in order to help it to absorb the calcium that may be present there.
- Good sources of calcium are low-fat or no-fat dairy products including milk, cheese, yogurt and more. In addition, many products such as cereals, orange juice and breads have calcium added.
- The best source for vitamin D is the sunlight. In today’s American Society, it is estimated that the majority of people spend as much as 90% of their time indoors. Besides the sunlight, you can achieve and maintain sufficient levels of vitamin D to help absorb your calcium with regular attention paid to your dietary intake choices. You’ll find loads of vitamin D in apricots, figs, green leafy vegetables and more.
Sedentary living habits
It is estimated by health professionals across the planet that as many as 25% of all people are “completely sedentary“. Like your muscles, your bones absolutely love physical activity! In fact, they thrive on it and cannot do without it. You have to be sure to engage in a consistently active lifestyle. This is not an option. Besides eating the proper foods, your body requires that you receive daily exercise.
It is recommended that all people engage in at least 20 minutes of semi-strenuous physical activity each and every day. If you’re not doing this, you are increasing your risk for developing osteoporosis – and of course, many other preventable diseases and health disorders.
What should you eat?
Fresh, organic vegetables
- Fresh, organic fruits;
- Organic grain products including rice, oats, breads, cereals and more;
- Beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and sprouts of all types;
- Omega-3 rich foods like salmon, sardines, tuna, lake trout, olive oil, avocados, flax seeds and more;
- Low-fat and no-fat dairy products;
- And only the very leanest cuts of meat – if any at all.
Avoid the following food types:
- Fizzy, caffeinated drinks;
- Foods that are high in sodium;
- Animal proteins;
- Foods with any degree of Trans fats;
- Processed, deep-fried, fried, prepared, microwavable, bleached, high-sugar and fast foods of all types;
Be aware of the affects of osteoporosis and the fact that it can happen to any of us. Taking preventative measures now will help prevent complications in the future.