According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, approximately 10 million Americans have osteoporosis. The disease affects the bones – living tissues that are constantly being broken down and replaced – and occurs when the creation of new bone can’t keep up with the removal of old bone. This causes bones to weaken, which leads to a higher risk of breaking a bone due to a fall. While osteoporosis can affect anyone, it is more prevalent among women – especially the elderly.

So what preventive steps can you take? Check out these 3 tips to help you prevent osteoporosis:

Eat enough protein

Protein is an important part of developing strong bones. While most eat enough meat to satisfy their health needs, vegetarians – or those who do not eat meat often – may need to supplement their protein intake with soy, nuts, legumes, or eggs to replace nutrients found in meats.

Maintain healthy body weight

Maintaining a healthy body weight may help prevent osteoporosis. If you are overweight, you may put unnecessary stress on your bones, which may lead to bones breaking more easily. Those who are underweight may have weakened bones, which also increases the chance of experiencing bone breaks and fractures. Exercise regularly and speak with your health care provider about a healthy weight for your body.

Get enough calcium

The Mayo clinic recommends everyone between the ages of 18 and 50 get 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily. Products such as dairy; dark, leafy, green vegetables; canned salmon or sardines with bones; soy products; and calcium-fortified cereals and orange juice are high in calcium and will help create strong bones.

The best way to avoid osteoporosis is to actively prevent it throughout your lifestyle. Get regular health check-ups and if you think you may have osteoporosis, speak with your health care provider.

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