In over 30 years of practice as a Long Island registered dietitian nutritionist, I’ve worked with women of all ages helping them optimize their health through medical nutrition therapy. A common problem many of my patients face is osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Maintaining bone health may be easier than you thought. You simply need to understand bone remodeling as well as your nutrient and lifestyle requirements.
Bone is actually living tissue. As such, it is in a constant state of remodeling – breaking down old bone and replacing with new bone. When young, bone is growing faster than breaking down. From around 30 to 40-50 (particularly when a woman is perimenopausal), bone change is in equilibrium. After that time, more bone is broken down than is rebuilt.
Whether to maintain bone health or treat osteopenia/osteoporosis, the goal is to slow down bone loss and increase bone regrowth/remodeling. Lifestyle changes along with diet and exercise will help you accomplish this goal.
A HEALTHY DIET:
- Strive for a plant-based diet, particularly vegetables.
- Include adequate (not excessive) protein.
- Avoid low-calorie diets.
- Sustain your optimal weight.
Include calcium in your diet.
- Dairy products are the most effective source.
- Calcium supplementation is an alternate source.
Vitamin D: be sure your check your blood levels and are within normal limits.
- Most women need to supplement with a good quality D3.
- K2: particularly MK7.
- Routine physical activity: exercise should include both aerobic and strength training/weight-bearing.
- Avoid smoking.
- Avoid substance abuse.
- Limit alcohol.
It is never too early or too late to implement measures for bone health.
National Institute on Aging