How good is your bone? We may not notice that a bad bone can make us prone to Osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a chronic disease that affects our bone density and quality of life, leading us to an increased risk of fracture. You may be surprised to know Bone loss happens silently and usually, there is no symptom until the first crack appears. Statistics showed that everyone is at risk of osteoporosis, especially Asians. It is estimated that about 50% of all osteoporotic hip fractures will occur in Asia by the year 2050. I believe you will agree with me that this is a serious problem; if so, let us pursue a healthy pursuit for stronger and healthier bones.
We have to start young
Bones are living tissue; old bone tissue is constantly being replaced by new bone tissue. Although this dynamic process happens throughout our lifetime, the best time to start banking on strong bones is before we reach our 20’s. During childhood and adolescence, new bone tissue formed faster than old bone tissue before being removed, building larger and denser bones for life. If you are a parent, I urge you to help your children to build strong bones when they are young. The best way to do so is to feed them with good nutrition, especially calcium-rich foods. Encourage them to participate in active outdoor sports and games, especially those that require them to walk, run, jump, dance, etc. Being out in the sun helps in the natural production of vitamin D within the body and this, in turn, helps to develop stronger bones.
My understanding is that both the boys and the girls up to the age of 18 are recommended to consume 1,000 mg of calcium a day.
We have to maintain them
As for adults, they need to continue to practise good lifestyle for strong bones, for example, they may want to do some weight-bearing exercises as well as taking adequate calcium and vitamin D. However, they need to go easy on salt and caffeine as these can cause calcium loss from the body. Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are a NO NO as they tend to increase the risk of fracture, so avoid them by all means! Do take note that maintaining a healthy body weight is desirable as those who are underweight are known to have a higher risk for osteoporosis.
Reduce our exposure to Risk
Wanted to find out your risk of osteoporosis? If so, visit the website of the International Osteoporosis Foundation (www.iofbonehealth.org) by filling out the `I0F One-minute Risk Test’.
If you have a high risk for osteoporosis, it is time to seriously take the necessary steps to reduce the risk of falls and fractures. You can start by fall-proofing your home and wearing well-fitting shoes or slippers. At the same time, consult your doctor and pharmacist about how you can have strong bones and prevent osteoporotic fractures.
The following foods are rich in calcium:
- Milk, whole (236 ml) – 278 mg
- Goats’ milk (236 ml) – 236 mg
- Low fat yoghurt (150 g) – 243mg
- Cheese (cheddar type, 40g) – 296 mg
- Steamed tofu (100 g) – 510 mg
- Soya bean drink (236 ml) – 31 mg
- Sardines, canned in oil (100 g/ 4 sardines) – 500 mg
- Almonds (26 g/ 12 whole) – 62 mg
- Broccoli, cooked (112 g) – 45 mg
- Tempe, fried (100 g) – 62.5 mg
Remember, we can prevent the risk of osteoporosis by living a healthy lifestyle! You will not regret if you start by caring for your bones NOW!
Tan Kok Hui
Nutrition Made Simple, Life Made Rich