Even young children know that eating spinach can make you stronger. But did you know that fall's colorful leaves can help guide you to better bone health? Following a bone healthy diet inspired by the changing colors of fall can go a long way toward preventing osteoporosis and protecting against broken bones.
For women, the incidence of osteoporosis is greater than that of heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined. An estimated 54 million U.S. adults are at risk for osteoporosis and low bone mass. That means more than one-half of the U.S. adult population over 50 is at risk of breaking a bone and should be concerned about bone health.
October 20th is World Osteoporosis Day and the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) is joining the international effort encouraging everyone to eat their way to better bone health. This year's theme is Serve Up Bone Strength.
In honor of World Osteoporosis Day, NOF launched its new smart phone application, Food4Bones, designed to help you understand and manage all of your nutritional requirements, especially if you have osteoporosis or other dietary concerns. With Food4Bones,you create your own personalized health profile that helps you: find great food to meet your personal dietary needs; explore a host of osteoporosis friendly recipes; search nearby restaurant menus to match your dietary needs; shop for packaged foods that are right for you; and build a personal library of food favorites. Food4Bones is available for Apple and Android users and can be found in their respective stores.
"Many people underestimate the significant effect diet has on their bone health," said Heidi Skolnik, certified nutritionist, author and NOF Trustee. "In addition to calcium and vitamin D, dietary fiber, potassium, magnesium and vitamin C are also important nutrients for bone health. Making sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, especially those inspired by the rich fall colors, is a great way to build and maintain healthy bones."
As you admire the changing colors outside, pledge to exercise regularly and include the following foods in your diet to maximize your bone health throughout the year:
- Green – kale, spinach, brussel sprouts (vitamin K and calcium)
- Red – tomatoes (potassium), red peppers (vitamin C), meat (protein)
- Orange – oranges (vitamin C), pumpkin (potassium)
- Yellow – bananas (potassium)
- Brown – potatoes and almonds (magnesium)
- Purple – prunes (potassium)
- Pink – salmon (calcium and protein).
"With osteoporosis and low bone mass responsible for two million broken bones every year, we're working to educate the public on the simple lifestyle changes they can make to prevent fractures and protect against osteoporosis. World Osteoporosis Day is a great time to do something good for your bones by committing to follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly," said Amy Porter, executive director and CEO, National Osteoporosis Foundation. "Starting from childhood, a diet rich in calcium, vitamin D and other bone healthy nutrients will help build bone mass, density and strength to protect against broken bones throughout the lifespan."
Along with regular exercise, getting the recommended amount of calcium, vitamin D and protein will help you build healthy, dense bones in youth, maintain healthy bones and avoid premature bone loss as adults and sustain mobility and independence as seniors.
To learn more about World Osteoporosis Day, the Serve Up Bone Strength campaign, the Food4Bones app, and foods that are good for your bones, please visit www.nof.org.