How to Prevent Osteoporosis, Naturally

Put the brakes on bone loss. Learn how to prevent osteoporosis naturally with our expert advice.

| August/September 2011

  • Instead of milk, green leafy vegetables, such as kale, are key to building stronger bones.

Our bones define us, make us beautiful, provide leverage for movement and allow us to stand upright. We build bone until our third decade. After that, a steady loss begins, like sand slipping through an hourglass. Nevertheless, while osteoporosis has become a major public health problem, it is not inevitable. A number of strategies will keep your bones strong—and some of them run counter to the party line on osteoporosis prevention.

Granted, some of the osteoporosis risk factors are outside of your control—namely being older, female, menopausal or white. Happily, you have some control over a fleet of bone-robbers: inactivity; stress overload; malnutrition; cigarette smoking; being excessively thin; hiding from the sun; and excessive consumption of caffeine, alcohol, sodas, salt and acidifying foods. (More on acidifying diets in a minute.) The point is that you can put the brakes on bone loss. Here’s how.

Try This: Bone-Building Tea 

Lifestyle Tips for Healthy Bones

Move Your Bones

Physical activity tones bone and muscle, and strong muscles minimize the risk of bone-shattering falls. To stimulate new bone formation, the exercise has to stress the bone. Weight-bearing exercises—walking, jogging, jumping rope, climbing stairs—maintain hips and spine. Strength-training exercises (working against the resistance of weights, elastic bands or tubes, or your own body weight) also strengthens your bones.

It’s never too late to start. Research shows that endurance and resistance training boosts bone mass in elders. Exercises like tai chi and yoga that improve balance are valuable to help prevent falls. One study showed tai chi reduced bone loss in postmenopausal women.

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