How to stop osteoporosis before your next bone density checkup

If you or someone you love fractures a bone, you may not think it’s cause for concern. Fractures aren’t that serious, right?

But they can be… especially if you fracture your hip bone and you’re over 50.

Did you know that one in three adults over the age of 50 who fractures a hip dies within 12 months? It’s scary but true. 50 isn’t even very old.

So, how can you keep dangerous fractures out of your future?

Take better care of your bone health. And if you’re already dealing with signs of osteoporosis, do it ASAP.

Osteoporosis (weak, brittle bones) is the biggest risk factor for fractures. And unfortunately, it’s super common.

Luckily, a recent study found that a certain diet can help get your bone health back on track and your fracture risk down within a year.

The anti-osteoporosis diet

The latest study from the University of East Anglia found that people with osteoporosis can improve their bone health within a year by eating a Mediterranean diet.

That means you could improve the results of your bone density scan between yearly checkups!

The study included more than 1,000 people between 65 and 79 years old. Half of them followed a Mediterranean diet for a year and the other half ate their usual diet. Researchers checked bone density at the start and end of the year. And here’s what they found…

Peak D3

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Eating a Mediterranean diet didn’t affect bone density in people without osteoporosis. But people with osteoporosis had better bone density after sticking to this diet for just a year.

Researchers looked at bone density in one area in particular… the femoral neck, the area that connects the thigh bone shaft to the rounded head that fits in the hip joint. When bone density is weak here, it sets you up for a hip fracture, since it’s connected to your hip.

Now, you may be thinking… I want my bone health to improve quicker than that. A year is a long time. Here’s the thing… bone takes a long time to form. So, you can’t get stronger bones overnight. But if you’re willing to eat a Mediterranean diet for twelve months, it will pay off. Just stick to it.

What to eat for stronger bones

If you’re not familiar with the Mediterranean diet, the rules are simple. Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Choose healthy oils like olive oil. Opt for chicken and fish more often than red meat. And drink red wine in moderation.

But there’s one more thing you should do to protect your bones…

Get ample vitamin D. Researchers had people in the study do this along with their Mediterranean diet. They only did it to even out the difference between sun exposure for people in different countries. But previous research shows that D3 can help prevent osteoporosis and strengthen bone density. So, you might want to take it too.

People in the study only took 400 IU of D per day. But you can take more. In fact, Dr. Cedric F. Garland, a researcher who’s been studying the connection between vitamin D and cancer for decades, recommends taking far more than that. He recommends taking 4,000 to 6,000 international units (IU) of D per day… especially if you don’t get much sun. If you eat a Mediterranean diet and take your D supplement daily, there’s a good chance your future will be fracture-free.

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Sources:

  1. Why hip fractures in the elderly are often a death sentence — The Conversation.
  2. How a Mediterranean diet could reduce osteoporosis — MedicalXpress.
  3. Mediterranean diet: A heart-healthy eating plan — Mayo Clinic.
  4. Greater levels of vitamin D associated with decreasing risk of breast cancer — MedicalXpress.
  5. Osteoporosis explained — Medical News Today.
  6. Hip Fracture Prevention — The American Academy for Orthopaedic Surgeons.
  7. Osteoporosis — Mayo Clinic.
 
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.