Every part of the human body is extremely busy- even bones. They are constantly rebuilding themselves, replacing old bone with new in a process called bone remodeling. During this process cells called osteoclasts break down bone while osteoblasts repair the damage by forming new bone.
Since childhood our bones have rapidly formed new bone at a faster rate than bone is broken down. Bones become increasingly dense until peak bone density is achieved- usually during young adulthood. After peak bone density the process may begin to reverse- more bone is lost than formed resulting in weaker, more brittle bones, leading to osteoporosis.
To slow down bone breakdown it’s important to get the recommended amount of calcium in your diet. The recommended daily allowance for adults 19-50 years old is 1,000 mg/day. Adolescents approaching peak bone density should consume higher amounts- 1,300 mg/day, because the more bone formed during this time the less likely their risk for developing osteoporosis in the future is. Older adults over the age of 51 should also consume greater amounts- 1,200 mg/day to account for the faster rate of bone breakdown.
Dairy foods are an excellent source of calcium. Skim milk, yogurt, low-fat cheese, and cottage cheese are all great picks. 8 oz of plain low fat yogurt can supply 415 mg of calcium alone while a glass of skim milk offers 306 mg.
Often dairy products get a bad reputation due to their fat content. Choose low-fat varieties to eat in moderation, and also include other calcium rich foods such as kale, spinach, broccoli, beans, tofu, nuts, oranges, and fortified cereals to receive adequate levels of calcium.
When it comes to health and prevention exercise always plays a leading role. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that healthy adults perform weight-bearing exercises such as walking, running, jumping, and resistance training to put pressure on the bones and thus build bone density.
To keep your bones strong try these health tips:
Diet Tip: From Kelly’s Kooler
Try Greek Yogurt:
Greek yogurt such as Fage Total 2% yogurt (8oz serving) contains 25% of your daily calcium with only 150 calories, 4.5 g fat, 9 g carbohydrates, 9 g sugar, 20 g protein. It’s a bit more textured and bitter than regular plain yogurt, but tastes great with fruit and a tsp. of honey.
Exercise Tip: Mix in Resistance Training
Add resistance training exercises to your cardio program- Keep up the walking or running, but include a simple circuit using your own bodyweight or dumbbells. Try body weight squats, lunges, lying dumbbell chest press, shoulder press, and single arm rows into the mix for 1-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions 2 times per week.