• The Deleterious Effects of Sugar Drinks

    Approximately half of the American population consumes a sugar beverage every day, as revealed by a National Center for Health Statistics data brief .For the most part, the calories from these beverages are empty calories meaning that they pack a lot of calories for very little nutritional value. The average calories consumed through sugar beverages across all age groups is between 94 and 175; in terms of calories, this is equivalent to one or two glasses of skim milk. However, skim milk is quite nutrient-dense as it is a great source of calcium and protein as well as vitamin D and vitamin A if it is a fortified milk product. Replacing sugar drinks such as sodas with skim milk would be a very beneficial dietary modification most notably for bone health. Such a substitution would benefit bone health on two accounts. For one, calcium and vitamin D play big roles in the formation of healthy, strong bones. Secondly, the high…

  • Osteoporosis Screening is NOT overused

    Lately, there have been concerns raised about the overuse of screening procedures, including bone densitometry. (Newsweek, Aug 14, 2011). While there may be many screening tests that are expensive and overused, bone density testing (DXA) is quite the opposite. It is relatively inexpensive AND underutilized.

    Osteoporosis is a seriously underdiagnosed and undertreated disease resulting in 2 billion fractures a year. What’s more, 70% of the people who have osteoporosis have never been screened . So what do we do?

    Every woman over age 65 should get a DXA. It’s a benefit covered by Medicare with no co-pay as part of their preventive services package. All men over age 70 should also get a DXA.

  • A Tasty Alternative to Cow’s Milk

    It occurred to me recently how many of my friends opt to use milk alternatives due to lactose intolerance or a general sensitivity to dairy products. Most of these people use almond milk or soymilk as their main alternatives. I’ve found myself to be a bit sensitive to both soymilk and cow’s milk, and while I do love almond milk, the cheese made from almond milk is difficult to find and not my favorite taste-wise.

    There is another type of milk that is more closely related to cow’s milk than the almond and soy varieties, and has been used as the predominant form of milk in most parts of the world. This variety is goat’s milk. Goat’s milk is easier to digest than cow’s milk possibly because of the different fat molecules in goat’s milk that tend to remain in solution rather than cluster into globules as they do in cow’s milk. The protein molecules in goat’s milk seem to be more rapidly digested by enzymes as well. In addition, goat’s milk is more similar to…

  • Ploughs and Balance Poses

    High impact advanced poses such as Sirsasana (headstand) or Sarvangasana (shoulder stand) might literally be bone crushing for individuals with low bone density. If you have low bone density or osteoporosis, you must avoid poses that have forward flexion – or rounding of the spine. Instead try doing Cobra poses that are considered extension poses to help you stretch and build strength without too much pressure exerted on your bones.

    Balance is very important, as is proper alignment. So go slow and work up because for beginners, balance poses can lead to falls if you are not ready. Falls for people with low bone density or osteoporosis can lead to fractures! During my last yoga class, someone lost their balance and almost started a whole domino effect! Bad falls like these can throw off the vibe of the yoga session and impact others around you, not to mention potentially be dangerous! Start your balance poses with support, such as a block, and pay attention to proper alignment…

  • Calcium + Vitamin D!

    The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Science recommends that children between the ages of 9 to 18 years old get at least 1,300 mg of calcium a day. Everyone needs calcium in their diet every day to build and maintain healthy strong bones. This is especially true for kids in their bone building years. Low calcium intake during childhood is associated with osteoporosis later in life. Osteoporosis is a disease of low bone mass, and thinning of bone tissues that can result in broken bones.

    Although milk and foods made from milk are the most concentrated source of dietary calcium, children who don’t like drinking milk can get their calcium from other high-calcium rich foods. Many foods are supplemented with calcium, such as juices and cereals. Be sure to check the label for the amount of calcium and be sure to watch for levels of salt and sugar in processed foods. You don’t want to add too much of that in an attempt to get calcium!

    Many dark leafy…

  • Introducing the FORE Fracture Risk Calculator™

    We’ve done a great job of educating people about bone density tests. But now there is a new method for screening people to determine if they are at risk for osteoporosis. It’s called fracture risk assessment. Over 66,000 Americans have used our tool since it was published in 2009. Try it for yourself and let me know what you think.

    For many years we have known that there is more to fracture risk than just bone density. There are many factors that can explain why in two individuals with the same bone density, one might break a bone and the other may not. The World Health Organization compiled data from all over the world to determine how to best “weigh” all the risk factors and to calculate fracture risk. Using fracture risk can help doctors better tell which patients need treatment. The calculator uses several standard risk factors to calculate 10-year fracture risk. We start with your age and the fracture rate expected for women/men like you. We then examine whether…

  • Kill two birds with one stone—the exercise stone that is

    Because I am so passionate about public health, I figured why not learn about preventing bone disease. Yes, granted, it’s a disease that predominately affects older people, but hey! it’s never too early to prevent something that may occur in the future. Plus, preventative measures are lighter on your pockets than actually treating the disease! In any case, I digress!

    Did you know that exercising not only benefits one by reducing their risk of contracting a heart disease such as diabetes and stroke but it can also help prevent various bone diseases such as osteoporosis. You are probably wondering how the heck does exercising promote healthy bones. Well, just like your muscles, bones are tissues that get stronger when one exercises. Young adults that exercise build more bone density compared to those that don’t. So young adults, it’s not too late for you to build stronger bones! Why not kill two birds with one stone? Why not exercise to stay in shape WHILE building healthy,…

  • Forward Folding Can Be Bad for the Bones!

    Whether you are in a yoga class or pulling the groceries out of your car, forward bending with a rounded back puts too much pressure on those important bones in your spine. Each vertebrae must crunch together easily causing fractures for people with low bone density. Just yesterday in class, I saw someone rounding over to reach the floor with their fingers. After class I noticed that person putting their hand to their back. You don’t want to feel this type of pain after your yoga practice. It’s really important to focus on good form by keeping your back in a straight or neutral position and hinge at the hip.

    So in yoga, forward folds such as Paschimottanasana (sitting forward bend) and Uttanasana (standing forward bend) can be too much for your spine, especially if you have low bone mass or osteoporosis. Now, for some limber people without bone concerns who can still achieve a straight back while bending over, forward folds might be ok. For others with low bone density…

  • Fruits of the Sea

    The hot days of August beg for vacations and day trips to the water. Cool water and lovely breeze make for an enjoyable way to beat the heat, but there are more benefits – nutritional benefits to be exact – that water can offer. Because of my mild distaste for lighter meats like chicken and turkey and the generally high saturated fat content of red meats, I tend toward a “pescetarian-style” diet – in other words seafood! As long as you look for sustainable fish and avoid seafood that is high in mercury, such a diet can provide healthy vitamins and minerals along with a very lean source of protein. Check out our favorite West Coast resource on sustainable fish – the Monterey Bay Aquarium!

    In terms of bone health, some fruits of the sea pack a wealth of calcium. Salmon may be a familiar example, as it is often cited for its numerous health benefits, but there are many other nutritional powerhouses dwelling beneath the water’s surface.

    Sardines are high up…

  • Eating right after a work out!

    Children need to be active for a number of reasons. Physical activity helps control weight, increase life expectancy, and building strong and healthy bones!

    It is also important for children to get lots of fluids and nutrients immediately after a game or a workout to replace what they have lost during their exercise.  Studies show that an hour after a workout is one of the best opportunities to replace nutrients. The meal or snack that children eat after their workout is most important for replenishing their energy sources.

    I cannot stress enough how important it is for young children to replenish their nutrient reserves after a physical activity. Work from American Bone Health shows that young girls who do not take in enough calories and nutrients after their workout may suffer from Athletic Energy Deficit (AED) and if AED goes unnoticed and untreated, it can lead to low bone density, stress fractures, future reproductive issues, and quite possibly the early onset of…