Best Bone-Builders

Featured Article, Healthy Aging, Osteoporosis, Women's Health
on May 1, 2011
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  1. Take calcium and vitamin D supplements. “You should get 1200 milligrams of calcium a day and 800 to 1000 international units of vitamin D from diet and supplements,” says endocrinologist Dr. Errol Rushovich of Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.
  2. Eat the way your mother told you. “Eat more dairy foods, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats—a healthy diet,” says Rushovich.  Almonds, leafy greens, broccoli, bone-in canned salmon and soybean foods are also high in calcium. Oily fish like sardines and tuna, and egg yolks are high in vitamin D.
  3. And spend time outdoors.  Your skin produces vitamin D when it’s exposed to sunlight.  Try to get 10 minutes of mid-day sun exposure daily.
  4. Exercise.  Do strength-training and weight-bearing exercise like walking and running at least three times per week for at least a half hour at a stretch. “Weight-bearing exercise stresses the bone, stimulating more bone production,” says Templeton. “Strength-training stresses the bone where the muscles attach. And it decreases the risk of falls.”
  5. Avoid smoking and drinking. Smoking increases bone loss by decreasing estrogen and by affecting calcium absorption. “And it inhibits the osteoblasts, or cells, that make bone,” says Templeton. Toss back more than two alcoholic drinks a day, and your body responds by forming less bone.

Read how Ginny Temple Franks and her mom, Linda Temple, are trying to slow the progress of osteopenia.