Help Shoppers Boost Bone Health

November 29, 2016

How to encourage your shoppers to keep strong bones? There are various things you can promote in your store to help delay bone loss and continue to maintain and even build bone density.

Bone, like other tissue, is in a constant state of turnover, or remodeling. Bones respond to exercise and a healthy diet by becoming stronger; and are one of the most important organ systems in our bodies as they provide structure, support, and protect our vital organs. Thus boosting bone health is essential for healthy shoppers.

Bones act as storehouses for minerals obtained through diet, and are able to release stored minerals in response to signals in our blood. Cells in our bones called osteoblasts form new bone, while osteoclasts break down and clear out the old bone. It's a delicate but perfect balance that occurs throughout the life cycle. The activity of osteoclasts begins to outpace that of the osteoblasts around our mid-thirties; which over time, results in weaker, more fragile bones.

How to encourage your shoppers to keep strong bones? There are various things you can promote in your store to help delay bone loss and continue to maintain and even build bone density. According to the American College of Physicians, osteoporosis currently affects over 40 million Americans. Osteoporosis is characterized as a loss in bone mass and increased fragility. It's most common in older women, but about 7 percent of white men and 5 percent of black men are affected.

Here are some things to share with shoppers: 

Boost Vegetable Intake: Diets that are significantly high in protein can lead to loss of calcium in the body. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that vegetable protein helps to retain more calcium in the bones than animal protein. While fish and reduced fat dairy products don’t seem to be a problem, other animal protein should be limited if you are concerned about your bone health.

Enjoy Whole Soy Foods: The European Journal of Nutrition found that two glasses of soymilk a day was protective in preventing bone loss. This is thought to occur because the phytoestrogen compounds in soy, known as isoflavones prevent the loss of bone. Soy of course can be obtained from other soy foods such as tempeh, edamame, tofu, and soy nuts.

Enjoy Adult Beverages in Moderation: Moderate consumption of alcohol has also been shown to increase bone density, although drinking too much leads to lower than normal bone density and fractures. High alcohol intake can inhibit your ability to absorb calcium. Moderation is key, which means no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women.

Watch Caffeine: Caffeine should also be consumed in moderation if you are concerned about bone density. The consumption of more than 400 mg of caffeine (the equivalent of four 6-ounce cups of coffee) has been linked to lower bone density in women and a higher fracture risk. This may be caused by caffeine blocking calcium absorption. A good alternative is tea, because it has less caffeine and may actually increase your bone density. Tea (black, green, or oolong) may strengthen bones because of flavonoids, minerals and fluoride that naturally occur in tea.

Choose Soda Alternatives: And for those heavy soda drinkers – here’s a warning – many studies report that carbonated soft drinks also increase the loss of bone. Sparkling water, fermented beverages, herbal teas and more are excellent for endcap bone health promotions.  

Choose Vitamin D Rich Foods: Vitamin D’s is important for bone health as it aids in the absorption and regulation of calcium, and thus deficiency can result in a variety of bone disorders. Few foods naturally contain vitamin D. Salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel and fish liver oils are the best sources, and vitamin D can be found in small amounts in beef liver, cheese, egg yolks and some mushrooms. Other foods have been fortified with vitamin D, and include milk, some brands of orange juice, margarine, and yogurt. Breakfast cereals often contain around 10 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin D as well. 

Don’t Forget Vitamin K: Another vitamin important for bone health is Vitamin K. There are two natural forms of vitamin K: vitamin K1, from plants and K2 from animal sources. Plant sources are key in building and maintaining healthy bones, as K1 activates a protein that anchors calcium to the bone. Great sources of K1 include, parsley, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, collard greens, celery, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, soy beans and avocado among others. The plant sources mentioned are also great sources of other bone-building nutrients like calcium, boron and magnesium. Vitamin K2 can be found in egg yolk, butter, certain cheeses, meat and the fermented soy product natto.