Did you know gardening is good for your bones? In a study from the University of Arkansas, it was suggested that women who garden weekly have stronger bones than those are inactive, or even those who jog, swim or do water aerobics.
Yet another reason to garden. After a Mother’s Day afternoon spent gardening and planting and weeding, I think I nourished my bones well.
But, there’s a bit more that goes into bone health. And while we might think it’s too early to really concern ourselves with this, it’s actually the perfect time.
We’ve all known someone who’s fallen and fractured a hip. Those fractures are life-altering. What you may not realize is those fractures are heavily influenced by what we do in the decades before we reach 65 (the time when these types of fractures are more common).
So what’s that mean?
It means bone health is essential. And moms, we need to nourish ourselves well to prevent these life-altering fractures. Monical Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS, a registered dietitian nutritionist, recently shared her top expert tips for bone health through the decades in my favorite mag written by registered dietitians, Food & Nutrition. I thought they were such great tips, I wanted to share them with you! Share these tips with your daughter, mother, and grandmother too, and don’t forget to take the expert advice yourself.
Teenagers: Bones are building and become more and more dense, so to make the most of this, prioritize foods/beverages rich in calcium and vitamin D daily (goal 1300 milligrams per day).
20’s: Keep high calcium and high vitamin D foods at the ready and minimize behaviors that are bone robbers – like smoking, excessive drinking and yo-yo dieting. Yes, it’s true, these lifestyle choices have negative consequences on bone health.
30’s: Bones reach their maximum density during this decade (we literally build bone until our 30’s!). Focus on more fruits and vegetables (from the garden!) as there seems to be an association with bone health later in life. (Women in their 30’s tend to eat the lowest amounts of fruits and vegetables.) Drink a lot of caffeine? Make sure you make up for it by getting adequate calcium too as each cup of coffee may result in a small loss of calcium through the urine.
40’s: While total bone density declines in this decade, you can use weight bearing exercise to preserve your bone mass. And keep the fruits and veggies, as well as the foods/beverages rich in calcium/vitamin D on the menu!
50’s: When the process of menopause (see my previous post) begins and finishes, there’s a dramatic increase in bone loss for women, which is why the recommendation for calcium remains strong. Get as much calcium as possible, up to 1200 milligrams, from foods like milk, yogurt, cheese and leafy greens. Several recent studies have found calcium supplements are of questionable benefit.
60’s and beyond: Protein is an important factor here as it helps absorb calcium from our foods. Eating enough protein can help preserve bone density and muscle mass, and so does exercise! Keep those calcium rich foods on the menu and be sure to keep gardening.
No matter what our age as moms, we can do something to nourish our bones well. You will need this list of calcium containing foods/beverages:
And last but not least, subscribe to my newsletter for the latest nourishing tips for moms! And pick up my recently released book, The Mom’s Guide to a Nourishing Garden, to get your garden growing! Find it on Amazon.