Focus on Healthy Foods for Strong Bones

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Published: 13th December 2010
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It's an important part of every woman's diet to include foods that support strong bones. Women at any age should be conscious of their bone health as it is a fact that women have a higher risk of osteoporosis than men. Osteoporosis or "porous bone" is a disease of the skeletal system characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue. Osteoporosis leads to an increase risk of bone fractures typically in the wrist, hip, and spine. Osteoporosis is the deterioration of the bone due to lack of essential nutrients. Osteoporosis is also largely preventable with a well-rounded diet that includes calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D. The key to maintaining strong bone mass at any age is to get enough of these essential nutrients.

Calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D each play a vital role in women's bone health. Depending on your lifestyle and where you live also plays a part in a women's bone health. Women who are accustomed to eating a western diet high in sugar, caffeine, meat, alcohol have a higher need for Calcium and magnesium. On the flip side, women who minimize caffeine, sugar, alcohol and insert regular helpings of leafy greens, whole grains, and dairy are less likely to be at risk for week bones. Each nutrient supports and plays its own important role in maintaining bone health.

Calcium is a mineral needed for healthy bones, teeth, and muscles. It also aids in the proper function of the heart and nerves. However, a woman's body cannot produce calcium on its own. This is one of the reasons it is so important for women to be vigilant in including it into their diet. The recommended daily allowance varies from 400 to 1,200 milligrams per a day. Sources rich in calcium include dairy products like milk and cottage cheese, leafy greens, grains such as oatmeal, tofu, garlic, and summer squashes. Though, there are many, many more good sources of calcium that can be included in your diet. Its also important to remember that calcium is absorbed very slowly into the body and cannot take in more than 500 milligrams at once. So sitting down to an all calcium meal isn't necessary. Its better to focus on getting one portion of calcium at each meal.

Calcium can only work when taken with Magnesium. Magnesium helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function and keeps bones strong. It also supports a healthy immune system and keeps heart rhythm steady. The recommended daily allowance for magnesium is 500 to 800 milligrams per a day. A few food sources rich in magnesium are leafy green vegetables, broccoli, halibut, green beans, summer squashes, and many seeds such as sunflower, flax seeds, and pumpkin.

Vitamin D also plays an essential role in bone health. One of its roles is to help the body absorb and retain calcium. Vitamin D is becoming more and more important as researchers are finding more than 70 percent of women are not getting the recommended dose of vitamin D they need to maintain good health and support strong bones. As a result of their vitamin D deficiency, more women than ever are developing osteoporosis. A few ways you can get vitamin D include half an hour of direct exposure to sunlight, supplements, foods like salmon and shrimp, fortified milk, and eggs.

The importance of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D goes beyond the scope of good bone health. They are essential to so many different areas of our body functions. Including them in a well-rounded diet to maintain and also restore bone strength will benefit your body as a whole and increase longevity.


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