May is Osteoporosis Awareness & Prevention Month, an entire month dedicated to raising awareness and spreading the importance of bone health, as well as sharing important ways to prevent this disease. Overall, about 54 million Americans have osteoporosis—a gradual thinning out of the bones—or low bone density, which may lead to fracture.

The good news is that in some cases, osteoporosis can be prevented!

Calcium – your bone’s best friend

When it comes to calcium, more is not always better. You should strive to hit the daily intake recommendation based on your stats:

-1,000 mg for women 50 and younger

-1,200 mg for women 51 and older

With well-balanced nutrition, you may be able to get most of the necessary calcium from your diet and fill in the rest with supplements. As a matter of fact, you could be eating more calcium than you think!

But don’t forget about Vitamin D!

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and use it to strengthen your bones. When your skin is exposed to sunlight, your liver and kidneys are responsible for making vitamin D. However, most of us cannot rely solely on the sun to get our daily dosage. Non-fortified foods are also limited in vitamin D.

Your goal should be:
-600 international units (IU) of vitamin D per day if you are 70 or younger
-800 IU if you are 71 or older

Because many women do not hit the recommended dosage of vitamin D through sun exposure and diet, supplements may be needed to meet this goal.

Keep strong with protein

Protein is in every cell in your body, including your bones. Studies have shown that eating protein increases bone mineral density. The recommended daily protein intake is 0.4 grams per pound of body weight. Protein can be found in animal or nonanimal food sources.

Get moving

Most of us know that exercise is good for fitness, but did you know it is great for bone health, too? Exercise helps stimulate the cells responsible for building bones.

The best exercise you can do to help prevent osteoporosis and promote bone health is by doing weight-bearing and resistance exercises 3 or 4 days a week.

Weight-bearing exercises focus on carrying the weight of your body against gravity. Walking is a great weight-bearing activity, as are running, dancing, aerobics, hiking, and tennis.

Resistance exercises use an opposing force, such as weights, an elastic band, or water, to strengthen your muscles and build bone. Having strong muscles and good balance may also help you avoid falls or minimize injury.

Live an overall healthy lifestyle

The choices we make in life affect our overall health. That is a given. There are some things we cannot control, but those that we can, we should. And the earlier you can start, the better. The choices we make, beginning as early as childhood, can affect our bone health in the future. What can we do now to help our bones later in life?

-Quit smoking.
-Limit alcohol consumption.
-Maintain a healthy weight.
-Eat a well-balanced diet.
-Stay active.

It is important to chat with your doctor about what you can do now to help prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures in the future. In the meantime, visit below to learn more and find treatment options that can work for you.