Only eleven percent of women in North America get enough calcium and magnesium (A 1: 1 ratio of calcium to magnesium is optimal) every day to build healthy bone. In response, many doctors prescribe multivitamins and mineral supplements.
The conventional approach is to increase your dairy and your supplements. A more balanced approach is to increase your green leafy vegetables, nuts, sea vegetables, legumes, fish and finally dairy. And do not forget to add bone-building exercises.
Green leafy vegetables include:
collard greens broccoli, kale, spinach, turnip greens, bok choy.
Sea vegetables include:
Hijiki, wakame, kombu, agar-agar, dulse
Sardines, salmon, oysters
Beans and Legumes include:
Tofu, tempeh, garbanzo beans, black beans, pinto beans, corn tortillas
Nuts and Seeds include:
Sesame seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts
Other sources of calcium:
Blackstrap molasses, orange juice, mineral waters, and dairy
Bone building exercises
And why are we so concerned about the amount of calcium and magnesium we are getting? Because it is essential for bone health to prevent osteoporosis as we age. But, the other part of the equation to bone health is often overlooked and that is the importance of bone building exercises. Weight-bearing exercises play a chemical role in creating and maintaining healthy bones. Weight-bearing exercises help to build bone because every major muscle in our bodies is attached to under bone by tendons. When a muscle is strengthened, so is the bone it is attached to.
The exciting news is that research has shown that not only do weight-bearing exercises decrease bone loss, they actually can build and strengthen bone as we age.
Osteoporosis usually starts during perimenopause in women who are susceptible. However, it is a silent disease in that in the early stages you will not feel any symptoms whatever. Silently and asymptomatically your bones may be starting to become porous and brittle which may make them intolerable to fracture later in life.
Eighteen to thirty-three percent of women over the age of sixty-five will sustain a hip fraction before they are ninety years old.
Of those who sustain a fracture in later life due to osteoporosis, twelve to twenty percent will die because of related complications.
Most women are afraid of breast cancer, but the risk of dieing from complications due to osteoporosis is the same as the risk of dying from breast cancer.
So, if you are not paying attention to your sources of calcium, now may be the time.