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Kaylor: Keep your bones strong

By Staff | Jun 20, 2014

Osteoporosis is often called a “silent” disease because people cannot feel their bones getting weaker. Nearly 10 million Americans have osteoporosis, and almost 34 million more have low bone density, putting them at increased risk for osteoporosis and broken bones. The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) has developed themes, messages and activities that increase the awareness of and action related to osteoporosis. There are many things you can do to make your bones stronger and keep them strong.

Tips to eat smart and stay active:

Calcium counts. Calcium helps keep your bones strong and is used for nerve function and muscle movement. If you don’t supply enough calcium to meet the body’s needs, your body will take calcium from your bones. According to the NOF, adults under age 50 need 1000 mg of calcium a day. If you’re age 50 or older, aim for 1200 mg daily.

Sources of calcium. Natural sources include dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt. Calcium-fortified foods include juices, cereals, breads, rice milk, or almond milk. Other foods include canned fish (sardines, salmon with bones) soybeans and other soy products (tofu made with calcium sulfate, soy yogurt, tempeh), some other beans, and some leafy greens (collard and turnip greens, kale, bok choy). Calcium can be absorbed from these foods varies. If you’re not getting enough calcium in your diet, supplements may help you meet your daily needs.

Lactose intolerance. If you avoid milk because of lactose intolerance, the most reliable way to get the health benefits of dairy products is to choose alternatives within the dairy group that are lower in lactose or lactose-free, such as hard cheeses (cheddar, Swiss, Parmesan), yogurt, lactose-free milk, or calcium-fortified soymilk (soy beverage) or to consume the enzyme lactase before consuming milk. Other strategies to try include starting with small portions of foods, such as milk, and gradually increasing the serving size and eating dairy foods in combination with a meal or solid foods.

Calcium supplements. For those who absolutely cannot get enough calcium in their diet, doctors may encourage calcium supplements. However, to achieve the maximum benefit from supplements, they must be properly used. For example, supplements that contain Vitamin D are preferred. And, since the body can only absorb 500 mg of calcium at a time, it is important to follow dosing instructions carefully. Some calcium supplements must be taken in conjunction with food and others may be taken at any time of the day.

Vitamin D is vital. Vitamin D is needed to absorb the calcium consumed and helps with muscle performance and balance. Without enough vitamin D, bones can lose mass and weaken. According to the NOF, adults under age 50 need 400-800 IU (international units) of vitamin D daily. If you’re 50 or older, you need 800-1000 IU.

Sources of vitamin D. One source of vitamin D is through exposure to sunlight. The skin makes vitamin D from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Dietary sources include cod, salmon, tuna, swordfish, sardines, egg yolk, and liver. Vitamin D can also be found in fortified foods such as milk, orange juice, cereal, and yogurt. Before buying a supplement, check the labels of supplements you currently take; many already have vitamin D.

Staying active.

Did you know certain forms of exercise can build bone density and slow bone loss? The NOF recommends getting 30 minutes of weight-bearing exercise (such as dancing, walking, low-impact aerobics, and gardening) on most days of the week and strengthening exercises (such as free weights, weight machines, or elastic exercise bands) two to three times a week. Other types of exercise, such as balance and posture exercises like tai chi or yoga, can help decrease the risk of falls and broken bones.

Risk factors. Certain people are more likely to develop osteoporosis than others. See the full list at www.nof.org/node/40. Many factors include:

Being female

Older age

Family history of osteoporosis or broken bones

Low estrogen in women, including menopause

Missing periods (amenorrhea)

Low levels of testosterone and estrogen in men

Diet low in calcium and vitamin D

Excessive intake of protein, sodium and caffeine

Inactive lifestyle


Drinking too much alcohol

Medications such as steroid medications, some anticonvulsants and others

Certain diseases and conditions such as anorexia nervosa, rheumatoid arthritis, gastrointestinal diseases and others

Approximately 1 in 2 women and up to 1 in 4 men over age 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime. And although many consider osteoporosis to be an older person’s disease, it can strike at any age. Talk to your healthcare provider about your chances of getting osteoporosis, and ask when you should have a bone density test done.

Source: Lisa


RD, PhD, Nutrition Specialist,



2 tsp. sugar

tsp. cinnamon

1 whole-wheat tortilla

c. low-fat yogurt (vanilla or fruit)

c. assorted fruit, cut into pieces or sliced

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix sugar and cinnamon in small dish or place in an empty salt shaker. Place tortilla on large baking sheets. Spray each side with butter-flavored cooking spray. Sprinkle with sugar mixture. Bake for eight to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool 15 minutes. Spread yogurt evenly onto tortilla. Prepare fruit and arrange on top of tortilla. Slice the pizza into pie-shaped slices and serve.

Makes two servings. Each serving has 130 calories, 2 g fat, 4 g protein, 23 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber and 105 mg sodium.

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