Posts Tagged ‘osteoporosis’

In our efforts to improve nutrition and choose “healthy foods”, it can sometimes be a challenge to know what is healthy and what is not. One measure of how a food fits in to your efforts to “eat healthy” is to look at how many important nutrients the food provides for the amount of calories it delivers. Our best bet is to choose foods that deliver the most nutrients – protein, vitamins and minerals – for the fewest calories. Avoiding empty calories is also a good goal. Low-fat dairy foods can be an important part of this plan. Dairy products that have some or all of the fat removed still contain all of the “good” nutrients we want.

girl drinking milkTogether, low-fat and fat-free milk, cheese and yogurt provide a unique package of nine essential nutrients that improve overall diet quality and promote good health. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recognize that milk and milk products are linked to improved bone health, especially in children and teens, and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure in adults.

What the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Say about Dairy Foods
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) encourage all Americans to increase intakes of low-fat or fat-free milk and milk products to the recommended daily amounts:

• 2 cups for children 2 to 3 years
• 2.5 cups for children 4 to 8 years
• 3 cups for those 9 years and older

Milk is the number one food source, in terms of consumption, for three of the four nutrients the DGA identified as lacking in the American diet – calcium, vitamin D and potassium.

According to the DGA, individuals who consume milk at an early age are more likely to do so as adults, so it is especially important to establish in young children the habit of drinking milk. Current evidence indicates intake of milk and milk products is linked to improved bone health, especially in children and adolescents. For women, around 40 percent of initial bone mass is achieved in the first 20 years of life, underscoring the importance of early bone development and health.

Nutrient-Rich Foods, Like Dairy
A positive approach to healthy eating does more than monitor calorie intake – it also maintains a diet that offers maximum vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients. Nutrient-rich foods, like dairy foods, provide essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients for fewer calories. Nutrient-rich foods from each food group include:

• Brightly colored fruits and 100 percent fruit juices,
• Vibrant-colored vegetables and potatoes,
• Whole, fortified and fiber-rich grain foods,
• Low-fat and fat-free milk, cheese and yogurt, and
• Lean meat, skinless poultry, fish, eggs, beans and nuts.

Dairy’s Health Benefits
Research has shown that:
• Osteoporosis – Dairy’s nutrients are vital to the development of strong bones thus reducing the risk for developing osteoporosis.
• Healthy Weight – Milk and dairy foods may also play a positive role in maintaining a healthy weight.
• Healthy Blood Pressure – Three minerals found in dairy foods – calcium, potassium and magnesium – may play an important role in maintaining healthy blood pressure.
• Cardiometabolic syndrome, Cardiovascular disease, type 2 Diabetes – Current evidence indicates that the consumption of dairy foods is associated with a reduced risk of Cardiometabolic syndrome – a cluster of metabolic abnormalities that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease – and type 2 Diabetes.

Author: Polly Loy, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Belmont County, Buckeye Hills EERA.
Reviewed by: Kathryn Dodrill, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, Buckeye Hills EERA
References: Dairy Foods and Nutrition Fact Sheet, Midwest Dairy Council, http://www.midwestdairy.com, March 2012.
USDA 2010 Dietary Guidelines, http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DietaryGuidelines.htm
Nutrient Density Fact Sheet, Clemson University Cooperative Extension Fact Sheet, http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/food/nutrition/nutrition/dietary_guide/hgic4062.html

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You know that you shed skin cells every day. About 30,000-40,000 of them fall off every hour. Over the course of a day, you shed over a million skin cells. Actually, most of the dust you see in your house is former parts of yourself. Eeuwww!! But what you might not realize because (a) no one ever told you, and (b) you can’t see through your skin, is that bone cells also die every day. Bone cells are living cells just like your skin cells; they eventually grow old and die. But unlike skin cells that fall off and land on the coffee table, old bone cells are reabsorbed and used to create new bone tissue.osteoporosis1

Inside your bones you have two “teams” of cells; one team’s cells (osteoblasts) lay down new bone. The other team’s cells (osteoclasts) chew up old bone. Ideally, you want the team that makes new bone to outweigh the team that takes away old bone, and for most of our childhood and young adulthood, that is exactly what happens. But as we age, the bone cell destroyers start to outnumber the bone builders. That’s when we begin to develop osteoporosis.This makes bones weak and porous, which raises the risk for fractures. Fortunately, there are many strategies you can employ to keep your bones hard and strong. Getting enough calcium and Vitamin D in your diet is one method, but being physically active is another.

So how does exercise help prevent osteoporosis? Moving your body enables you to build and maintain the amount (bone mass) and thickness (density) of your bones. When your body is moving, muscles pull against the bone. The stress causes minerals (mainly calcium) to be deposited in the bone. This makes the bone stronger and denser.

You need three different types of exercise to help lower your risk for getting osteoporosis: weight-bearing, resistance, and flexibility.

The first (and best) type of exercise to protect against osteoporosis is weight-bearing exercise. Weight-bearing means your feet and legs are supporting your body’s weight. Examples of weight-bearing exercise include walking, going up and down the stairs, and housework. However, weight-bearing exercise primarily affects bones below the waist, so you need other sources of activity to challenge the upper half of your body. Playing tennis and mowing the lawn are examples of activities that benefit the whole body.

Resistance exercise uses an object to create challenge or “friction.” When you’re working against the weight of an item such as free weights, weight machines, or resistance bands and tubing, you strengthen the muscles surrounding your bones and increase bone density.

And lastly, flexibility is important because your body needs to be able to bend and flow. Stretching, Tai chi, and yoga all promote balance and strength. These types of exercise will not slow down the loss of bone, but may decrease the risk of falls and fractures. When you twist, bend, and stretch, you strengthen the sites most at risk; primarily where your upper arm meets your shoulder, where your forearm meets your wrist, where your thigh bone meets your hip, and your spine.


Written by:

Donna Green
Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences
Ohio State University Extension

Reviewed by:

Elizabeth Smith, MS, RD, LD
Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences
Ohio State University Extension

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