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Bone Health: Can You Prevent Osteoporosis Naturally?

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Osteoporosis is a disease that affects the strength of your bones. It occurs if your body has lost too much bone or isn't effectively making enough new bone — or both. As a result, your bones weaken and can break easily if you fall. You can't change all risk factors for osteoporosis, but you can prevent some damage naturally.

For most adults, peak bone mass occurs around age 35. That's when bones, which are living tissue, reach their maximum strength and density levels. After that, bone mass begins declining slowly over the years. This happens for both men and women, but bone density declines faster in women after menopause.

How To Help Prevent Osteoporosis

Age is one risk factor for osteoporosis that you obviously can't control. You also can't do much to change some other risk factors, like:

But there are a number of risk factors you can control when it comes to preventing or delaying osteoporosis.

Diet

Our bones require specific nutrients to develop properly and to remain healthy and strong in our later years. These vitamins and minerals include not only calcium but many other bone supporting nutrients. It's also important to get phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, zinc, manganese, copper, protein, and vitamins D, K, C, and A into your diet. To get more of these, include these foods:

Worried About Your Bone Health?

Talk with your provider about a bone density test.

Exercise

For building and maintaining bone density — which helps prevent osteoporosis — the two most beneficial types of exercises are:

Doing any of these exercises regularly can also improve balance and coordination, which helps prevent falls that can cause broken bones. Other beneficial exercises for improving balance include yoga, standing on one leg, and Tai Chi.

Lifestyle Choices

To help prevent osteoporosis, cut back on alcohol and cigarettes. Studies show that chronic, heavy alcohol consumption, especially when begun in adolescence or young adulthood, can severely compromise bone health and increases the risk of developing osteoporosis. Smokers are also reportedly at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis since nicotine can affect how bone-strengthening calcium is absorbed from calcium-rich foods.

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