Strong Bones Diet

Healthy Do's and Don'ts

Do:

  • Get plenty of daily, weight-bearing exercise like jogging, hiking, aerobics, dancing, cross country skiing and golf (doesn't count if you use a cart!). Stimulation of the bones encourages bone-building cells (osteoblasts) to lay down calcium
  • Get regular exposure to sunshine. Your body requires sunshine to make vitamin D, which you need to absorb calcium
  • Take a daily multivitamin that includes zinc and magnesium as well as vitamins A and D, all of which are necessary for the proper absorption and utilization of calcium
  • Eat oxalates (found in spinach, beet greens, rhubarb and chard) and phytates (found in the outer layer of many seeds, grains and beans) -- but be aware that these bind calcium to make it unabsorbable. Since these foods are good for you, don't avoid them -- but be sure to eat them separately from high-calcium foods and supplements

    Don't:
  • Smoke. Smoking can decrease estrogen levels. This increases a woman's risk of osteoporosis because estrogen may suppress the bone-destroying osteoclasts and may stimulate the bone-building osteoblast cells
  • Consume excessive sodium, which increases the urinary excretion of calcium
  • Consume excessive phosphorus, which can be found in too much animal protein or some sodas. Phosphorus competes with calcium for vitamin D. Excess phosphorus means that less vitamin D is available for calcium absorption and bone building
  • Get too stressed. Studies have suggested that cortisol, the hormone released when a person is under stress, may suppress bone formation
  • Take a lot of aluminum-containing antacids because excessive amounts can interfere with calcium absorption. Read labels!
  • Drink too much alcohol. Alcohol decreases the activity of osteoblasts, the bone-building cells
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