I‘ve always been interested in good health, but when I took a bone density test, I was given a diagnosis of osteopenia. Osteopenia occurs when your bones are weaker than normal, but not to the point of having osteoporosis, when bones are more likely to fracture.
A woman in menopause has enough problems with hot flashes, depression, weight gain, and dry skin without having bone health added to the mix.
Here are four changes you can make for better bone health:
Eat Calcium-Rich Foods
Foods that are rich in calcium usually include some of your favorite foods. In the main dish department, cook dried beans such as pinto, navy, or kidney beans. Dairy products such as low-fat or non-fat milk can be used in cooking or poured over your morning breakfast cereal. I have developed a taste for Greek yogurt, which is also a good source of calcium.
Take Calcium Supplements
It is hard to eat enough calcium-rich foods for optimum bone health, especially if you’re watching your calories. Your doctor may recommend taking a calcium supplement. For a woman in menopause who might not be producing as much stomach acid, calcium citrate may be more easily absorbed.
Increase Vitamin D Levels
One of the best sources of Vitamin D is sunlight. Now, with all the emphasis on making sure you apply sunscreen every 20 minutes when you’re outside, you don’t get those beneficial rays that could increase your Vitamin D.
A Vitamin D3 supplement promotes calcium absorption and bone mineralization. Your doctor will advise which dosage requirement will work best for you. I take 1000 IUs a day, but if your levels are lower, you may need to take more until your bone density increases.
Any exercise is beneficial but when you’re working on better bone health, you need to do some strength training. When I first heard about strength training for women, I had a picture in my mind of standing in the gym lifting weights. You can lift weights, but not everyone can pony up the big bucks for a gym membership, and there are exercises you can do at home that are just as beneficial.
Start out slowly, and if you have physical limitations such as joint replacement, bad knees, or high blood pressure, talk to your doctor first.
Since I have been following these tips, my last bone density test showed my bone mass had increased.