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Ways to help keep bones healthy

Healthy bones are important throughout one’s lifetime. Bones protect, support and help the body to move.

As one ages, osteoporosis can occur. Osteoporosis is a disease that thins the bones and makes them more prone to breaking. Women who are going through menopause are more at risk for developing osteoporosis.

Frail bones can be caused by poor diet, smoking and a lack of weight-bearing exercises which include walking, dancing, golf and soccer among others.

Regular consumption of large quantities of caffeine and alcohol can affect bone health. Caffeine decreases the amount of calcium that the body absorbs while alcohol affects the amount of calcium and vitamin D the pancreas takes in.

Soda is a drink that lowers the amount of calcium in the body because of phosphorus. A study at Tufts University found that women who drink more than three or more cola-based sodas a day had four percent lower bone density in their hip bones. The study stated that women who drink other sodas that are not cola-based did not have the same effect.

Recently, Americans from a young age are drinking multiple beverages which contain large amounts of caffeine. Energy boosters, iced coffees and caffeinated sodas are just a few. Young consumers must be made aware of the possible effects as they grow older. Caffeine leaches calcium from bones which makes the consumption of such beverages especially dangerous if pre-teens and teens are drinking lots of them.On average young people from nine to 18 need at least 1,300 milligrams of calcium per day.

Calcium is found in yogurt, milk, low-fat cheese, almonds, kale, bok choy, pistachios, sardines, fortified cereals and enriched breads.

Vitamin D is important because it helps to increase the amount of calcium that the body absorbs. It strengthens bones and helps prevent osteoporosis. Vitamin D  can be found in fatty fish such as salmon, trout, tuna and other fish. It is also found in egg yolks, fortified yogurt, cod liver oil and many other foods.

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