Your bones are your body’s structure, its framework, its stability. They play a huge part in your over-all health as well. Statistics show that as many as one in two women over 60 will break a hip this year. Those are sobering numbers – and an important reason for women of all ages to take an interest in keeping their bodies and bones healthy.
To that end, here are a few bone-healthy facts to consider:
• Bones are the storage units for the body. For example, a breast-feeding woman passes extra calcium to her child from her bones – without compromising her health.
• Bones serve as the architecture of the human body – they are living things – they are alive. Bones are able to heal following a fracture because bone cells called osteoblasts work to build new bone while osteoclasts break down old bone. This is a rapid activity when we are young, but slows later in life – which is why successful healing from a break is a longer process as we age.
• Women over 65 with osteoporosis are more likely to fracture a hip than they are to develop uterine, ovarian or breast cancer. Twenty-five percent of those who fracture a hip die within a year.
• Exercise, especially weight bearing exercise, increases bone density.
• The excessive use of alcohol can adversely affect bone density. Alcohol related bone loss can progress to a condition called osteopenia, which is the precursor to osteoporosis.
• Milk is good for your bones, but spinach is even better. Leafy greens contain high levels of calcium. Calcium supplements are less effective in aiding bone health than a calcium-rich diet.
• Vitamin D plays a critical role in keeping bones healthy and makes it possible for bones to absorb much needed calcium.