Osteoporosis is rarely, if ever, mentioned as a top health concern for women. While doctors encourage you to do monthly breast checks and watch for changes in moles on your skin, there's seldom a discussion about protecting your bones. If anything, perhaps you pop a calcium supplement. And yet, simple lifestyle choices and changes you make today can lower your risk of developing thinning bones and fractures in the future. Same goes for your kids, who acquire about 90% of their bone mass by high school graduation. And don't forget about your parents: Small fixes around their homes can prevent unnecessary falls, which often lead to debilitating bone breaks. Don't wait. Now is the time to take action to safeguard yourself and your entire family.
By Eileen Stukane
At every age calcium is a must for preventing osteoporosis, and the best way for your body to absorb this mineral is from calcium-rich foods. Adults up to age 50 should consume 1,000 mg a day (1,200 mg after 50).
If you aren't able to meet the daily recommended amount, supplement with 300 mg of calcium citrate twice a day after meals, says Dr. Cosman. Having food in your stomach helps with absorption, and taking two small doses, rather than one big one, decreases the risk of developing kidney stones.
Bone Up on Calcium
1 cup of milk: 300 mg
8 ounces of low-fat yogurt: 415 mg
1.5 ounces of cheddar cheese: 306 mg
1/2 cup cooked spinach: 130 mg
2 ounces almonds: 150 mg
1 cup calcium-fortified cereal: up to 1,000 mg