Millions of Australians will develop brittle bones later in life. Lower your risk of developing osteoporosis by following these tips.
If you have insufficient calcium in your diet, your body then takes it from your bones — meaning the bones become depleted of their calcium. They then become thinner and brittle, and prone to fractures. This condition can be avoided. Here are five ways to keep your bones strong.
1. Cherish cheese
Cheese, yoghurt and milk are loaded with calcium. Women aged over 51 and men over 71 should aim for a daily calcium intake of 1300mg. A 40g wedge of hard cheese has 300mg of calcium. Meet your target by adding in a tub of reduced-fat yoghurt and a glass of milk!
2. Favour figs
Figs top up your calcium and ‘mineralise’ bones, which hardens and strengthens them. They are high in fibre and vital minerals, like most fruit and veg. Just three dried figs have 80mg of calcium.
3. Feast on fish
Canned salmon and sardines will boost your calcium intake, thanks to their soft, little edible bones. While this oily fish is loaded with omega-3 fats, their bones will give you between 175mg and 480mg of all-important calcium.
4. Let the sunshine in
All the calcium in the world won’t help if you’re not getting enough vitamin D. Formed by getting sunlight on the skin, vitamin D enables calcium (and phosphorus, also important for bones) to be easily absorbed into your bones. In summer, aim for 5–10 minutes of gentle sun exposure every day, increasing this to 30 minutes in winter.
5. Lift those weights
Keep your bones strong with steady weight-bearing exercises or resistance training, where you’re working against gravity, such as aerobics, walking, rope jumping or tennis.
The bottom line
These five measures can delay the progress of osteoporosis. Talk to your doctor about your regimen and keep taking any medication that you’ve been prescribed.