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Nutrition and Your Bone Health

March is National Nutrition Month and what better time to remind you about the importance of good nutrition to protect your bone health.

Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become thin, brittle, and weak. These changes can increase the risk of fractures. Osteoporosis occurs 5 times more in women than men. Fortunately, some things can be done throughout your lifetime to help to maintain healthy bones, and a major one is
eating a healthy diet.

Research continues to show that diet can be an important tool in preventing bone disease. Bone health is the result of bone mass, bone architecture, and body mechanics, all of which are supported by nutrition. In particular, calcium and vitamin D have been shown to be beneficial to bone health. Calcium is important for building and maintaining healthy bones. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. Many people do not get enough calcium from food. To increase your daily levels of calcium, eat a variety of calcium-rich foods. Good sources of calcium include dark, leafy greens, like spinach, kale, and collards; dairy foods, such as yogurt, milk, and cheese; and canned fish with soft bones, including salmon and sardines. You can increase your intake of vitamin D by eating foods fortified with vitamin D (orange juice, cereal, and milk). You also can get vitamin D by being in the sun for 15 minutes a few days a week. You can also discuss supplementation with your physician.

Maintaining a balanced diet of vegetables, fruits, lean protein, limited sugar, fatty fish, low salt, low caffeine, and whole grains is good for your overall health and also your bone health.