Osteoporosis is a disorder of the bones in which the bones become brittle, weak and easily damaged or broken. Unfortunately, when you have osteoporosis, you can’t feel your bones getting weaker. You probably won’t know it has happened until it is too late. A small fall could make you break a bone, but it might also happen from bumping into objects.
After age 35, your body will lose bone tissue faster than you’ll build it and this leads to a higher chance of osteoporosis. More than 70 per cent of people with osteoporosis are women, most especially those going through menopause. This is because the hormone estrogen, which helps protect bones, drops when women reach menopause. Just like, age and gender, hereditary does play a role. And so if your mother had osteoporosis, you might, too. You can find out if you have the condition by getting a bone density test, which measures how much bone you have in your hips and spine. But there is a lot you can do to protect your bones and keep them strong:
Get enough calcium: Women who consume more calcium from their diets are less likely to suffer osteoporosis. This essential mineral helps in building healthy bones and ensures the muscles, cells and nerves function properly. But do you know that your body pulls calcium from your bones when it doesn’t get enough? And if your body continues taking calcium from the bones whenever it runs dry, your bones are prone to thinning. And sadly, this raises your chance of fractures.
The most absorbable forms of calcium are – calcium citrate, calcium glycinate, calcium ascorbate, and calcium malate.
Calcium is found in milk and dairy foods and adults need about 1,000 milligrams a day which may translate to 240 mls of milk or one thick slice of cheddar cheese. But vegetarians, the lactose intolerant as well as people that just don’t like the taste of dairy products, would not want to take any form of animal product. Gladly, nature has blessed us with such a wide array of calcium-packed non-dairy foods that you do not have to rely only on dairy products for that daily dose of calcium. So if you don’t eat dairy, you’re not doomed to brittle and weak bones.
Leafy green vegetables, legumes, seeds and fruits also contain calcium. For example:
Cabbage- Cabbage and other members of the Brassicaceae family which include broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and mustard seeds prove to be good sources of calcium. These vegetables are extremely nutritious and eating them raw or lightly steamed helps to maintain their highly nutritious quality. Being a great source of calcium, cabbage can decrease inflammation.
Almonds: A ¼ cup dry roasted (about 20 nuts) will provide 72 mg of calcium. It will be beneficial for you to grab a handful of almonds every now and then. They are the most nutritionally dense nut and aside from calcium, they also contain potassium, vitamin E, and iron. Sprinkle on a salad or make your own almond butter.
Moringa oleifera (horseradish; okwe oyibo-Igbo; ewe igbale-Yoruba; zogalla-Hausa)-
Analysis of moringa fresh (raw) leaves and dried leaf powder has shown them to contain 440 mg and 2,003 mg per 100 gms of edible portion respectively. The fresh leaves and dried leaves respectively contain 4 times and 17 times the calcium of milk. Little wonder Moringa has been used to address conditions resulting from a lack of calcium. Drink a cup of this herb 2 X daily and your bones will be glad you did.
Sesame seeds (beni seeds): Half cup of sesame seeds is said to contain 3 times more calcium than half cup of whole milk. Eat it roasted or cooked as vegetable soup.
Oranges: 1 medium fruitcontains 65mg of calcium. I am sure you are glad to know that oranges contain calcium too apart from the popular vitamin C people know them for. So enjoy this fruit as a mid-morning snack for calcium and vitamin C.
Eat foods high in vitamin D: Remember to pair your calcium with vitamin D as the body needs this vitamin to help absorb calcium. Good sources of vitamin D include sunlight, fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon, and tiger nuts, among others.
Exercise regularly: If you are above 50, exercising cannot help build new bones. However, it can help slow bone loss as well as build and maintain muscles. Any exercise that you do with your feet on the ground forces your bones to support your weight. And that strengthens your bones. Walking, jogging, climbing, dancing, aerobics, tennis, and weight-bearing exercises are good options. Since family history is one of the risk factors for developing osteoporosis, don’t forget to encourage your girl child to exercise. Pre-teen and teen years are the best time to build up your bones, not after 50!
Remember your bones are living, growing tissue that store calcium and other minerals. Be sure not to allow depletion of this essential mineral. Live a healthy lifestyle, eat healthy, get enough sun shine, take healthy exercise and be mindful how much alcohol you drink.