have cottage cheese for lunch and regularly swim after dinner,
so you think you're getting the calcium
and exercise you need to ward off osteoporosis.
people are surprisingly misinformed or uninformed about how to
build healthy bones, said David Hamerman, MD, director of
the new Center for Bone Health at Montefiore Medical Center (MMC).
Women know they need calcium and that they rapidly lose
mass after menopause, but not much more, he said.
As a result,
one in two women and one in eight men over 50 will have an osteoporosis-related
fracture in their lifetimes, according to the National Osteoporosis
Foundation. Few people suspect they have this silent disease
until their bones are so thin and weak they break easily, especially
in the hip, spine, and wrist. In many cases, adopting healthy
bone habits earlier in life could have prevented osteoporosis.
is the consequence of a lifetime of poor nutrition, exercise,
and lifestyle practices, Dr. Hamerman said. It's
not just an older person's disease.
If you understand
your risk of developing osteoporosis, you can grow old with your
bones intact. These ten little-known facts about bone health nutrition
tips, lifestyle risks, and warning signs can help.
About Bone Health
1. Your body stores almost all of its calcium in the bones, which
act as a calcium bank. You deposit calcium daily,
and the body withdraws daily what it needs. Anything that isn't
used is stored for future use. The amount of daily calcium you
need varies at different stages of life (see table below), but
remember the body won't absorb more than 500 mg. at a time.
Wait four to six hours between doses or dairy servings.
Requirements For Every Stage of Life
1-3 years - 500 mg.
4-8 years - 800 mg.
9-18 years - 1,300 mg.
Pregnancy & lactation - 1,000 1,200 mg.
Adult women - 1,000 mg.
Post-menopause on hormones- 1,200 mg.
Post-menopause without hormones - 1,500 mg.
Cottage cheese is a poor source of calcium. A one-cup serving
of 1 percent fat cottage cheese has only 138 mg. of calcium, but
a cup of non-fat yogurt has a whopping 450 mg. of calcium! The
calcium content in hard cheeses varies, too. An ounce of processed
American cheese has 130 mg of calcium while an ounce of hard Parmigiano
has 335 mg. almost three times as much. A good hard cheese
to eat is Swiss cheese, with 270 mg. of calcium per ounce.
dairy products are much higher in calcium than whole-milk products.
Even low-fat yogurt has less calcium than non-fat yogurt
415 mg. vs. 450 mg. per cup while whole milk yogurt has
just 274 mg. A half-cup serving of part-skim ricotta has 337 mg.
of calcium vs. 257 mg. in whole ricotta. That's because non-fat
products often are fortified with dry milk solids. Check labels
to see what you're eating.
Foods that interfere with calcium absorption include bacon, salty snacks, and cola drinks...
foods and beverages interfere with calcium absorption. The list
includes heavily salted foods such as bacon, salami, smoked salmon,
prepared soups, salty snacks and other processed food. It is recommended
that you consume less than 4,000 mg. of sodium a day. Cola has
phosphoric acid that blocks calcium absorption, while caffeine
can actually deplete calcium. Alcohol in excess is not good, either,
because it damages bones.
5. Some sun is good for you and your bones, so don't always
sit in the shade. A minimum of 400 IU of Vitamin D is essential
each day for the body to absorb calcium. About 15 minutes of daily
sunlight without sunscreen will produce all the Vitamin
D you need, although recent studies suggest increasing this amount. Because the sun doesn't shine everyday, make
sure your calcium supplement contains enough Vitamin D.
begins in the teen years. Girls achieve 42 percent of their total
body bone mass between the ages of 12 and 18, yet 90 percent of
girls do not get enough calcium. Beginning at age nine, children
(both boys and girls) should include 1,300 mg. of calcium in their
to the Duchess of Windsor's dictum, you can be too thin.
If your bones don't carry enough weight, they will lose mass.
(Paraplegics and other wheelchair-bound individuals also are at
risk.) That's why you have to make your bones work. Cardiovascular
exercise such as biking or swimming is good for the heart, but
less so for your bones. Engage in weight-bearing exercises such
as running, jumping, and lifting as well. (Consult with your physician
Signs and Other Risks
8. Many older women have fractured spines but they don't
know it because they don't feel or hear the bone crack. When
older women lose height, suffer back pain, or develop a protruding
abdomen or Dowager's Hump on their back, chances are that's
a sign of a vertebral fracture of the spine, Dr. Hamerman
points out. About 700,000 women suffer vertebral fractures each
year. Brittle teeth also can be an early sign of osteoporosis.
9. Many women
know there is a link between estrogen and bone health, which is
why post-menopausal women have a higher risk of osteoporosis.
But in some circumstances, pre-menopausal women may not produce
enough estrogen. Early menopause,
amenorrhea (loss of your period, sometimes as a result of too
much exercise), estrogen inhibiting birth-control pharmaceuticals
such as Depo-Provera, late puberty, irregular periods, or other
menstrual disorders put women at higher risk of developing osteoporosis.
10. Some medications
reduce bone mass, such as glucocorticoids used to control arthritis
and asthma, some antiseizure drugs; certain sleeping pills, some
hormones used to treat endometriosis,
and some cancer drugs. Certain medical conditions also increase
the risk of brittle bones, including an overactive
thyroid gland, kidney
disease, and lupus.