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The News on Diet & Exercise

fat-free yogurt, milk and cheese; fatty fish like salmon and sardines; dark leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, kale and okra; and even foods fortified with Vitamin D and calcium like soy milk and cereal. But moving forward, include in your diet foods rich in magnesium (raisins, spinach and sweet potatoes), high in potassium (bananas, oranges and tomatoes), and filled with Vitamin C (brussel sprouts, green and red peppers and strawberries). The research shows they’ll not only help to increase bone density, but reduce fracture risk as well.

Don’t smoke, avoid or limit alcohol, exercise regularly, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and increase intake of calcium and Vitamin D—all part of the basic protocol for keeping your bones strong and warding off osteoporosis. But one recent investigation reveals that diet and lifestyle changes prescribed to protect the heart can make better bones as well for a two-for-one “health punch.” The study developed an adherence score for following the American Heart Association’s (AHA) 2006 Diet and Lifestyle recommendations, and then tracked 933 participants, aged 47 to 79. Findings showed that the risk for osteoporosis in bone areas throughout the body dropped from between 9% and 17% when adherence scores increased incrementally.

And when it comes to exercise, frequent physical activity that promotes a tip-top ticker is just as valuable for boosting bone strength. According to the AHA, 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise improves your overall cardiovascular health. These same minutes, whether spent walking, running, hiking, dancing or doing other weight-bearing movements, also have a positive affect on your bones—especially in your thighs and upper body, which are prone to breaks. Be sure to consult with your physician, however, before starting any exercise regimen.

So whereas calcium and Vitamin D always have been important for healthy bones, many other foods and nutrients, once advised primarily for a healthy heart, are now being heralded for their bone-strengthening properties. You should still eat the staples: dairy products such as low-fat or

Still Other Research Many other studies are making significant advances in what causes osteoporosis and how best to prevent, diagnose and treat the disease. Recent research protocols have: • discovered two integral genes: one considered vital for normal bone formation and the other linked with weight loss (in women 65 and older) that contributes to bone loss; • detected biomarkers that correlate with changes in bone remodeling (formation and breakdown) and, in turn, may offer insight into the loss of bone; • found that quantitative ultrasound (QUS) of the heel predicts hip and other nonvertebral fractures almost as well as the more expensive dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA); • supported the usefulness of low-dose estrogen, selective estrogen receptor modulators and bisphosphonates in both preventing and treating osteoporosis.

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