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Magnesium Helps Prevent Osteoporosis

Aug 17, 2007
To protect your bones from osteoporosis, look beyond calcium, suggests a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

After studying more than 2,000 men and women ages 70 to 79, researchers learned people consuming the most magnesium had denser bones, which helps prevent osteoporosis.

Though clinical trials will be needed to clarify magnesiums role, researchers say the study results add to previous research that shows the mineral is a key player in the fight against osteoporosis. The strength of the association is similar to a previous study of calcium intake and bone density, says lead study author Kathryn M. Ryder, M.D., M.Sci., associate professor of medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis.

The recommended dietary allowance for men is 420 milligrams (mg) of magnesium per day; for women, 320 mg per day. Dr. Ryder advises reaching this goal through food alone. Check out our handy grocery list for some delicious options to help prevent osteoporosis. Talk to your doctor about supplements if you can not take in enough magnesium through foods, says Dr. Ryder. And start low. High doses of magnesium supplements may cause diarrhea and cramping.

Grocery List: Magnesium

FOOD DAILY VALUE MET
3 oz cooked halibut_________________20%
1 oz dry roasted almonds_____________________20%
1/2 cup frozen, cooked spinach______________20%
1/2 cup cooked soybeans____________________________20%
Instant oatmeal with water__________15%
Medium potato with skin_____________15%
2 T peanut butter___________________15%
8 oz plain nonfat yogurt____________10%
3/4 cup bran flakes_________________10%
1/2 cup brown rice__________________10%
1/2 cup kidney beans_________________8%
1 cup chocolate milk (2% or skim)____8%
1 medium banana______________________8%
1 slice whole wheat bread____________6%
1/4 cup raisins______________________6%

Move right, Eat Right To find out how food and exercise choices affect bone health and help prevent osteoporosis, we spoke with Miriam Nelson, Ph.D., associate professor at Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Boston and author of Strong Women, Strong Bones.

What are your exercise tips for strong bones? Strength training and weight-bearing exercises. Weight-bearing exercise means you are truly bearing your weight, as in walking, jogging, skipping, jumping, playing tennis. With the strength training, you will want it to be progressive, using heavier weights over time.

Besides calcium, what should you consume for bone strength? Vitamin D is also important, but it is really about establishing healthy habits. You should eat at least three low-fat dairy foods, five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables, three of protein (meat, fish, eggs) and six servings of whole grains daily. Do this, and you will get the nutrients that are good for bones. Then choose a supplement to make up any deficit you might have.

Strong bones go a long way toward osteoporosis prevention. So remember to exercise and choose delicious foods containing magnesium and vitamin D, as well as calcium.
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