BY SUZANNE BADIEOZZAMAN
OSTEOPOROSIS IS a disease that thins and
weakens the bones. Bones become fragile
and break easily, especially those in the hip,
spine and wrist. In the United States, millions of people either already have osteoporosis or are at risk due to low bone mass.
Statistically, osteoporosis is more prevalent in women, with one in four women
older than ;; su;ering from it. However,
according to the International Osteoporosis
Foundation (io; onehealth.org), men are
not far behind.
While age and genetics play a key role,
diet and lifestyle can have a dramatic e;ect.
Alcohol, smoking and excess consumption
of sodium, protein and ca;eine can accelerate calcium loss. Even certain medications,
such as corticosteroids, and diseases, such
as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and celiac
disease, can harm bones.
Lots of calcium sources
The good news is that the National
Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF;
states that getting enough calcium, fruits
and vegetables, and vitamin D (we cannot
absorb calcium without it), and being active,
help maintain strong bones. Other nutri-
ents, such as potassium, magnesium, and
vitamins C and K, are necessary for bone
health, too; research suggests omega-;s,
found in olive oil, blueberries, fish and
;axseed, may have bone-boosting bene;ts.
The Institute of Medicine (
academies.org) recommends that men ages
;; to ;; get ;,;;; milligrams (mg) daily,
while those over ;; should get ;,;;; mg.
Women ages ;; to ;; should get ;,;;; mg
per day, and those over ;;, ;,;;; mg daily.
Spreading calcium intake throughout
the day is better than having it all in one
sitting because the body can absorb only
about ;;; mg at a time, and this absorp-
tion rate decreases with age.
Three dairy servings a day that add up
to your recommended amount is all it takes
to combat osteoporosis.
For those who have a hard time digesting
lactose, many lactose-free, non-dairy and
forti;ed calcium sources exist to keep bones
strong. The live active cultures in yogurt
break down lactose, making it more easily
digestible than milk and pacifying lactose-intolerant stomachs. Hard cheeses like
Swiss and Cheddar have less lactose as well.
Leafy green vegetables, such as kale,
turnip greens, broccoli, cauli;ower, Brussels
sprouts and bok choy, are also good sources
Certain substances can interfere with
calcium absorption, such as ;ber; phytates
(beans, wheat bran); oxalates (spinach, beet
greens, rhubarb, certain beans); magnesium, iron and zinc (meats); and ca;eine
and phosphorous (colas).
Aim for the recommended calcium
intake from food ;rst and take a supplement
FOR YOUR HEALTH
Costco warehouses offer a wide variety
of calcium-rich foods, and calcium
supplements are available at Costco
warehouses and on Costco.com.
only if you fall short. Taking more calcium
than you need in supplements may have
some risks, as exceeding the daily requirement can lead to possible calci;cation in
the body, and you will need more water to
;ush the kidneys to prevent possible kidney-stone formation.
Finally, don’t forget exercise. Weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises
promote healthy bone mass maintenance.
Brisk walking and tai chi are safe and simple
exercises to help you keep ;t and strengthen
your balance, thus preventing falls and
breaks. Getting ;; minutes of exercise most
days is best. Always consult your doctor
before beginning any diet and exercise
regimen, then get your bones moving! C
Suzanne Badieozzaman is a freelance writer
and nutritional consultant.
Boning up on calcium and osteoporosis
The battle of brittle
SOME SIMPLE ways to boost calcium
in your diet:
• Use yogurt in spinach dip
( 6 ounces of yogurt, 300 mg).
• Drink milk or almond milk
( 1 cup, 300 mg).
• Drink calcium-fortified orange juice
( 8 ounces, 200 to 345 mg).
• Eat cheddar and mozzarella cheese
( 1 ounce, 205 mg).
• Eat canned salmon and sardines
( 3 ounces, about 300 mg).
• Eat collard greens, cooked
( 1 cup, about 266 mg).
• Add powdered milk to recipes to
• Make scrambled eggs, soups, pancakes, cakes and oatmeal with milk,
lactose-free milk or almond milk.
• Have milk or a milk alternative at
• Snack with yogurt and fruit.
• Make homemade salad dressing