Your bones are constantly changing. Old bone continuously breaks down and is replaced by new. When you're young, your body makes bone fast enough to replace what's lost. This helps you reach your peak bone mass, the point at which your bones are strongest.
At about age 30 (if you're a woman; later, if you're a man), you start to lose bone mass faster than your body can replace it, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This increases your risk for osteoporosis, a disease that causes bones to become less dense. This makes them weak and more vulnerable to breaks. The disease affects 10 million Americans, 8 million of whom are women.
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Adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D in your diet help maintain your bone strength, reducing your risk for osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become weak because of the loss of bone density. Although you can take supplements that provide calcium and vitamin D, the best way to get adequate calcium is by eating calcium-rich foods. The best way to get vitamin D is to expose your face, arms, hands or back (without sunscreen) to the sun for 10 to 15 minutes at least two times per week.
One in every two women and one in four men older than 50 will have a bone fracture caused by weak bones in their lifetime. Fortunately, following a healthy-bones diet can bolster bone strength and reduce the risk for osteoporosis.
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