What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become fragile and brittle, leading to a higher risk of fractures (breaks or cracks) than in normal bone. Osteroposis occurs when bones lose minerals, such as calcium, more quickly than the body can replace them, leading to a loss of bone thickness (bone mass or density). As a result, bones become thinner or less dense, so that even a minor bump or accident can casue serious fractures.
Every 5-6 minutes, someone is admitted to an Australian hospital with an osteoporotic fracture. This is expected to rise every 3-4 mintues by the year 2021, as the population ages and the number of osteoporotic fractures increase.
1 in 2 women and 1 in 3 men over 60 years will have an osteoporotic fracture in Australia. Our nation’s bone health is worse than expected, with almost one-in-three* (29.2 per cent) Australians living with brittle bones, and many unaware of the contributing risk factors, according to two independent studies released today.
According to Suzanne Murphy, a nutrition scientist at UC Berkeley, the best source of calcium is a healthy diet. "Supplement pills are a last resort. Taking too much calcium in supplement form can be unpleasant or even dangerous, leading to nausea, gas or even kidney damage," says Murphy. She further recommends whole food nutrition because "calcium-rich foods taste great and help in preventing and reversing heart disease, cancer and dementia as well." Another good reason to get your calcium from food rather than supplements is a decreased risk for kidney stones.
What tops the list of bone-building nutrition sources?
Dairy products top the list, as you know, but leafy greens are a calcium-rich food source that is lower in fat and calories. Collards, kale, dandelion, turnip greens and Bok Choy are great additions to whole juice drinks, soups and salads. If these vegetables sound unfamiliar and you are hesitant to try them, take baby steps. The Vitamix machine makes it easy to start adding them to your whole food meals a little at a time. Another bone-building food source is whole grains like brown rice, millet, barley, buckwheat, quinoa and spelt. The Vitamix comes with some great recipes using whole grains-and these grains are great for adding to leafy green side dishes double-duty calcium and crunchy texture..
New Australian research revealing the truth about our bones
New findings from the Geelong Osteoporosis Study, just published in the Medical Journal of Australia, for the first time provide a wake-up call on the magnitude of osteoporosis in Australia. The study reveals the disease is more widespread than previously thought with a 1.2 million affected by osteoporosis and a startling 5.4 million people with low bone density also known as ‘osteopaenia’ (a potential precursor to osteoporosis). A separate GP and Consumer Tracking Study, commissioned by Osteoporosis Australia, also reveals GPs are not always investigating at-risk patients and patients are not fully aware of the risks of their bone health.