Almost all adults tend to lose bone mass after the age of 35. For women this is exacerbated with the onset of menopause. When bone starts losing its minerals and proteins problems such as osteoporosis, bone fracture, low back pain and joint pain result. Hair, teeth and nails also get affected.
Bone loss can be prevented by several techniques. Weight bearing exercises, diet and lifestyle play an important role in strengthening bones.
Weight bearing exercises - Bone gets built when muscle pulls on bone, so weight-bearing exercises build stronger, denser bones. Stair climbing, weight-lifting, jogging, hiking, step aerobics, dancing, racquet sports, and other activities that require your muscles to work against gravity. 30 minutes of weight bearing exercise are recommended every day. However it is not necessary to exercise 30 minutes continuously. Doing it at 10 minute stretches also works. You should exercise even if you have osteoporosis - however you should take the advice of your doctor as to which activities are safe for you.
Diet - Women especially after menopause should include at least 1000mg of calcium in their diet daily. It is also important to have adequate quantities of Vitamin D at least 800IU as it helps the calcium to be absorbed into the body and build bone mass. Milk, yogurt, broccoli, cheese, kale, collard greens, tofu are all foods high in calcium. Excessive protein, sodium, and caffeine can increase the urinary excretion of calcium, while excessive fiber can interfere with its absorption. Foods high in Vitamin D are cod liver oil, salmon, mackerel, tuna fish and sardines.
Lifestyle - Avoid smoking and excessive drinking as this tends to leach bones of its minerals. Avoid carbonated beverages and caffeine. Lead an active lifestyle - daily moderate exercise is essential. Even 3 days of bed rest can cause substantial bone loss.