Bones and All: Katie’s Nutritionist Breaks Down Osteopenia and Osteoporosis

Plus, lots of pointers on how to keep your bones in top shape.

As you probably know, we lose bone density as we age. And while there’s no magic formula for returning our skeletons to their previous states, there I am lifestyle changes you can make to support your bones. Want to know where to start? Katie sat down with her cancer dietitian, Emily Buchholtz, RD, CDN, CSO on all things osteopenia and osteoporosis. Buchholtz has already given us stellar advice on how to eat to reduce the chance of colon cancer AND the truth about supplements So it makes sense that Buchholtz would be the perfect resource to answer Katie’s burning questions about all things bone health and overall well-being. For more on how to keep your bones strong, read on…

Katie Couric: What is osteopenia? I have it, but I really want to keep my bones strong as I age.

Osteopenia is a medical condition characterized by a decrease in bone mineral density. Typically, bones affected by osteopenia are weaker and have a higher risk of fractures than healthy bone density.

Does osteopenia turn into osteoporosis?

Osteopenia is often considered a precursor to osteoporosis progress to osteoporosis if left untreated.

Should I take a calcium supplement?

Calcium supplementation may be beneficial for people with osteopenia and osteoporosis, but it’s important to confirm with your doctor and dietician before starting a calcium supplement. Not all supplements are created equal and the dosage varies from person to person. The average person with osteopenia and osteoporosis needs approximately 1,200 mg of calcium per day, and these needs can be met with a combination of supplementation and food. In short, calcium is very variable: it is important to establish your basic needs before adding a supplement.

Should I take it with vitamin D for better absorption?

Vitamin D is required for proper calcium absorption, and it’s common to have inadequate vitamin D levels at some point in time, especially if you live in a colder climate. Sun exposure aids in the absorption of vitamin D, but it is often difficult to meet our vitamin D needs through food alone. But here’s the great news: It’s super easy for your doctor to test your vitamin D levels to get a baseline, and they or your registered dietitian can recommend a quality supplement to ensure your needs are being met.

Are there foods I should eat that are high in calcium? Which ones are they?

Yes, there are tons – some of my favorites include Greek yogurt, salmon or sardines, cottage cheese, tofu, almond butter, almonds, almond milk, tahini, white beans (cannellini), sweet potatoes, clementines, dried figs, and greens dark vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and cooked spinach.

As much of these foods should I eat a day?

The average person with osteopenia and osteoporosis needs approximately 1200 mg of calcium per day. When someone takes a calcium supplement, I often encourage about 3 servings of calcium-rich foods per day. When someone isn’t consuming a supplement, I often encourage about 6 servings of calcium-rich foods per day.

Here are some examples of calcium-rich foods and them approximate calcium content per serving:

Greek yogurt (200 mg per serving), salmon or sardines (200-400 mg per serving), cottage cheese (100 mg per serving), tofu (200-400 mg per half serving), almond butter (70 mg per serving)) , almonds (75-100 mg per ounce), almond milk (400 mg per serving), tahini (280 mg per ounce), white beans (cannellini) (60 mg per serving), sweet potato (50 mg per serving), clementines (20 per whole fruit, and who can eat just one?), dried figs (160 per serving). Then there are dark green vegetables like kale (100-150 mg per cup), broccoli (45-60 mg per cup), and cooked spinach (240 mg per serving).

Can I eat too much calcium?

Yes, it is possible. While it’s not common to consume too much calcium through food, it does AND It is possible to consume excess calcium with supplementation.

Consuming too much calcium on a regular basis can cause hypercalcemia and be just as harmful as not meeting your calcium needs at all. It can also lead to gastrointestinal problems, kidney stones, and can interfere with the absorption of other essential minerals like iron and zinc. That’s why it’s important to establish a baseline and work with a professional like a registered dietitian to find the right dosage for your needs.

What about the exercise? What can I physically do to keep my bones strong?

Exercise plays an important role in the management of osteopenia and osteoporosis by preventing further loss of bone density. Weight-bearing exercises, resistance exercises, and strength-training exercises are the most effective at supporting bone health, think free weights, resistance bands, weight machines, and bodyweight exercises. If you’re a fan of group fitness, HIIT, Pilates, and yoga classes are great options. And if you prefer exercise outdoors, consider power walking, hiking or jogging; but always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.

#Bones #Katies #Nutritionist #Breaks #Osteopenia #Osteoporosis
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