Follow these tips to help ensure healthy bones

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

Building strong bones is a lot like building a healthy balance in your “calcium bank account.” Bones are living tissue and constantly in a state of turnover, making calcium deposits and withdrawals daily. Bones don’t come with a lifetime guarantee. They need continuing maintenance or they can weaken and break.

If your diet is low in calcium, your body will take calcium from your bones to keep calcium at normal levels. It is important to get a bone density test to determine if you are at risk for osteoporosis. Keep the following tips in mind for a lifetime of healthy bones:

Intake a proper diet

Proper diet plays a major role in bone development and retention. Since bone is made up mostly of proteins, minerals, and water, a lack any of these will keep bones from forming properly. Follow an overall eating plan using the MyPyramid Food Guidelines (www.mypyramid.gov).

Vitamin D is needed for the body to absorb calcium. Avoid excessive caffeine-rich foods and drinks. It is important to read food labels.

Be physically active

Bone development is stimulated with weight bearing exercises (walking, dancing, running, weight training). Bones of physically active individuals are usually stronger and thicker than bones of inactive people.

Maintain a healthy

body weight

A healthy weight puts more physical strain on bones, causing greater formation of bone. Being very thin more than 10-percent under “ideal” or healthy body weight increases the chance of having thin and frail bones.

Monitor your drugs

If you are taking over-the counter or prescription drugs, talk with your doctor to see if any of them could place you at risk of losing bone calcium. Your doctor may make changes in your medications or suggest changes in your diet to compensate for this problem. Avoid smoking and limit alcohol intake. Ask your doctor about hormone replacement therapy if you are a female and have no menses.

Manage calcium supplements

If you can’t get enough calcium through your food, your doctor may suggest a calcium supplement. In many cases if you have a low calcium intake, you may have a low intake of other nutrients as well. Calcium supplements may correct a calcium deficiency but supplements cannot solve multiple nutrient inadequacies that are the result of poor dietary choices. Studies indicate calcium in supplements is usually not absorbed by the body as readily as it would from milk and other food sources.

For more information, call 253-2610 .