Mother's Day Advice for Mom - Protect Your Bones With Powerful Plants

Show mom some love by encouraging her to eat these powerful bone-building plants!

Fill Her Plate

This Mother's Day, encourage Mom to fill her plate with plants to keep her bones strong and her body healthy for years to come. Every day load up at least half of your plate with a colorful assortment of fruits and vegetables. Why? When you eat a variety of produce selections - and there are hundreds to choose from - you protect yourself from cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cognitive decline, age-related eye disease, lung diseases, chronic inflammation, and even bone loss or osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis - a condition that will impact about half of the American population over 50 years old by 2020 - can lead to weakened bones and an increased chance for bone breakage. Especially for women, maintaining healthy bones becomes increasingly important as we age.

Bone up with these bone-building strategies

So, this Mother's Day, show mom some love and encourage her to follow these five plant-powered, bone-building strategies to keep her looking great and feeling her best.

  • Bone up on calcium - Keep your bones healthy by feeding them two to three servings of calcium-rich foods each day. Evidence consistently indicates that having a calcium-rich diet is an important way to preserve bone density and prevent bone fractures as we age. If you're looking for plant-based calcium sources, turn to calcium-fortified plant-based milk, tofu, and orange juice; green leafy vegetables, such as kale and greens; and almonds.
  • Brew a pot of tea - Tea, the most widely consumed beverage in the world besides water, has been woven into the fabric of food traditions around the globe, from Victorian high tea to the iced tea sipping style of the Southern American states. While there are limited studies available in this area, research hints that drinking tea may help protect against bone loss and the risk of osteoporosis. So pour yourself a hot or cold cup of tea, such as green, black, oolong, or white tea.
  • Don't ditch the vitamin D - The buzz surrounding vitamin D for its bone-building abilities is strong. However, it can be tough for some people to meet their vitamin D requirements (600 mg/day for 1 to 70 years of age.) So, be good to your bones  and soak up 10 minutes of sunshine a day, and consume vitamin D-rich foods, such as fortified soy milk and orange juice, and mushrooms exposed to UV light. If you're still falling short, discuss a vitamin D supplement with your health care provider.
  • Eat a rainbow of produce - Bones need more than calcium and vitamin D to stay strong. Many bone-loving nutrients are found in fruits and vegetables, such as magnesium, potassium, vitamins C and K, and phytochemicals. So aim for a wide variety of these plant beauties.
  • Don't forget exercise! - Your bones are living tissues that respond to physical activity by getting stronger. It's a good idea to incorporate weight-bearing activity - those movements that work against gravity - in your fitness regime. Some ideas? Go for a brisk walk, swim laps in the pool, or try yoga to prevent the bone loss that can lead to osteoporosis and even worse, broken bones.

Happy Mother's Day!

From my (plant-powered) plate to yours,

Sharon Palmer, R.D.

Sharon Palmer, The Plant-Powered Dietitian™ is a writer and author of The Plant-Powered Diet. Over 850 of her articles have been published in national publications, including Prevention, Better Homes and Gardens and Today’s Dietitian. She is also the editor of the award-winning publication Environmental Nutrition and writes for her blog, The Plant-Powered Blog. Her specific expertise is in plant-based nutrition, including Mediterranean, vegetarian and vegan diets. Her second book, Plant-Powered for Life: Eat Your Way to Lasting Health with 52 Simple Steps and 125 Delicious Recipes, will be in stores spring of 2014.

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