The silent epidemic
The word osteoporosis literally means "porous bones", that is bones filled with tiny pores, or holes. Your bones change constantly – being broken down and rebuilt as you go about your everyday life. In fact, your bone cells are so active that your entire skeleton is replaced approximately every 10 to 12 years.
However, problems arise when the rate of renewal does not keep up with the rate of breakdown, the result being bone loss. When this continues over a period of years, osteoporosis occurs.
Osteoporosis is a preventable illness affecting many more women than men. 1 in 3 women over the age of 50 in the UK and 1 in 9 men are sufferers. Osteoporosis is not just a matter of brittle bones: it can kill – in fact it kills more women than ovarian, cervical and uterine cancers combined. Up to 20 per cent of women who suffer hip fractures die within six months of sustaining the fracture.
Your skeleton is constantly fighting against gravity, and it is that fight that helps to maintain bone density. You need to load the skeleton and put it under stress in order for it to respond; it works a little like supply and demand.
Any exercise that is performed against the force of gravity is termed weight-bearing. This can include walking, dancing, jogging, stair climbing, low impact aerobics, tennis, squash, badminton, skipping and bouncing.
Weight bearing exercise is good for bone density because it forces your bones to lift your weight and fight against gravity.
The food that you eat has a significant effect on your bones because the body uses the nutrients from your diet to rebuild and renew them. Certain foods are beneficial for your bones whilst others are not, and it is very important to know which is which – there's much, much more to it than just drinking milk.
All the different aspects of nutritional advice can become quite confusing, and putting them into practice is a challenge. In this chapter there are guidelines on how to plan bone-restoring meals, and also how to prepare them, using some inspiring osteoporosis-busting recipes.
If you are used to a diet consisting largely of highly processed convenience foods, you may well find some of the suggestions here strange at first, but within a few days you will discover just how delicious a wide variety of home cooked food can really be. You should start feeling healthier and more energised, and within a month or so you will wonder how you ever managed to function on a diet consisting of large amounts of animal protein and refined carbohydrates. Looking after your bones does not have to be all mung beans and broccoli – so read on to find out more.
Marilyn Glenville is the author of a valuable new book aimed at reducing Osteoporosis through proper diet. "Osteoporosis - The Silent Epidemic", published by Kyle Cathie is a valuable addition to any home library.
Marilyn Glenville gives us many delicious recipes and sensible suggestions for safe exercise and dietary supplements to aid bone formation. Her book is packed with a wealth of information from bone structure, to which tests to ask for to diagnose Osteoporosis and what drug treatments are available with all the possible draw backs.
By Marilyn Glenville PhD
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