Tips for Living with Osteoporosis
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 10 million Americans currently suffer from osteoporosis and another 44 million Americans have low bone density, placing them at risk. Here at 8 lifestyle tips to make living with osteoporosis or low bone density a little bit easier.
Get a huge boost in calcium with an easy soup made from broth made with bone-in parts. Chicken bones contain loads of calcium and magnesium, which are essential for the production and regrowth of healthy bones in humans. Include bony chicken parts in your soup broth and add vinegar to the pot, too—this can help draw out the calcium. Put some leftover bones from your next chicken dinner in the freezer until you’re ready to make stock. Nutritious bone broth even beats out milk in the calcium department!
Proper Posture Pointers
Reduce the pressure on your spine by practicing healthy posture all day long. When sitting, stick a small pillow or rolled-up towel against your lower back. Take extra care to sit up straight while working at your desk or reading—hunching over is extremely damaging to the spine, especially in people with osteoporosis or low bone mass. Likewise, when you need to pick something up, don’t arch your body forward at the waist, but rather bend at the knees and use your legs to do the heavy lifting.
Osteoporosis must hurt an awful lot, right? Actually, many people have no symptoms until a bone breaks. And sometimes, even a fracture can go unnoticed. Compression fractures or broken vertebrae might be completely painless or only bring about vague backaches. They can accumulate gradually over time and cause the spine to curve forward, one of the telltale symptoms of osteoporosis.
Be good to your bones by consuming more calcium. When it comes to calcium-rich veggies, always go dark green. Spinach, kale, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts are all loaded with the mineral, and they can be prepared in countless ways for delicious variety.
Get More Vitamin D
For a natural shot of vitamin D, look to the sun! (Wear shades, of course.) Sunshine can trigger the production of vitamin D in the human body. Called the “sunshine vitamin,” D is a crucial player in forming and maintaining strong bones while also helping to prevent heart disease and various cancers. While sunscreen is essential protection from burns and permanent skin damage, if you spend 20 minutes outside before applying it, three times per week, you can get plenty of bone-healthy vitamin D.
Calcium can’t do much good without its partner in (healthy) crime. Magnesium helps calcium absorb into the body, building stronger bones while performing its many other fantastic tasks for heart, brain, and nerve health. Leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, and legumes are all touted for their magnesium content, but there’s one surprising source that’s also super delicious: peanut butter! You’ll get a good dose in a few scrumptious tablespoons of peanut butter.
To compensate for a lack of dietary calcium, here’s a quick and cheap fix: Take one Tums tablet with your morning breakfast and another just after dinner. The human body can absorb just 500 milligrams of calcium at once, so one regular-strength Tums tablet is the perfect dose. If you’ve suffered from kidney stones, or if you’re not sure of the proper dose, check with your doctor first.
Boost your calcium intake with one or two servings of yogurt every day. Just one cup of plain yogurt offers up to 250 milligrams of calcium—that’s one-quarter of the recommended daily dose of this bone-strengthening mineral. Add some delicious magnesium-rich snacks like nuts, sliced banana, or whole-grain cereal, and you’ve got an ultra-nutritious combo that’s also a sweet treat! If you’re lactose intolerant, try some of the many calcium-fortified foods available at your local supermarket or health-food store: Look for calcium-fortified almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, breakfast cereals, orange juice, and cranberry juice.