Most people know that when you look for a house, you want a place with “good bones.” In other words, if the structure of the home is in good shape, most people feel they can fix up the rest. If a home doesn’t have good bones, the rest of it doesn’t matter.
The same can be said of your body. If you don’t take care of your bones, the rest of your body will quickly fall into disrepair.
“Taking care of your bones doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked,” says Dr. Victor M. Romano, a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon and author of Finding The Source: Maximizing Your Results – With and Without Orthopaedic Surgery (www.romanomd.com).
“Just a little moderate exercise and eating some of the right food and drinks is all that is required.”
Vitamin D, for example, is important for the absorption of calcium and aids in improving muscle strength and balance, Dr. Romano says. A deficiency of Vitamin D can cause soft, thin, brittle bones. It’s also associated with depression, Parkinson’s disease and seizures. Moderate weight training is always recommended to keep bones strong, even for senior citizens.
Dr. Romano recommends that instead of taking calcium pills, the best way to get calcium into the body is with a healthy diet. He suggests a few ways to add calcium to your diet to keep bones healthy:
- Start the day with calcium-fortified orange juice.
- Cook cereals with skim milk or almond milk (instead of water) or add two tablespoons of nonfat dry milk.
- Spread low fat cream cheese on bread or toast instead of butter or margarine.
- Add low-fat cheeses to sandwiches, salads and pizzas.
- Add sardines to salads or sandwiches.
- Include higher calcium greens, such as spinach, broccoli and kale, in your salad.
- Enjoy low-fat or fat-free yogurt with berries for dessert.
- Make smoothies with frozen fruit, fortified orange juice and low-fat or fat-free yogurt.
“A poor diet can lead of a lot of health complications, but poor bone density is usually overlooked by many people trying to get healthy,” Dr. Romano says. “Getting enough Vitamin D and calcium in the diet is well worth the effort.”
Dr. Victor Romano (www.romanomd.com) is an orthopedic surgeon in Oak Park, Ill., and the author of Finding The Source: Maximizing Your Results – With and Without Orthopaedic Surgery. He is board-certified in orthopedics and sports medicine with over 25 years of experience in the field. He graduated cum laude from the University of Notre Dame and completed medical school at the University of Loyola-Chicago.