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Benefits of Yogurt in Postmenopausal Osteoporosis

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If you're suffering from postmenopausal osteoporosis, consuming a cup of yogurt each day can make a big difference. This healthy snack is packed with calcium and other nutrients that help postmenopausal women maintain strong and healthy bones. Those concerned about developing osteoporosis or looking for a way to manage the progress of the disease should incorporate more of this tasty and powerful food into their diets.

How Does a Calcium Rich Diet Build Stronger Bones?

By the time you reach postmenopause, your bones have already developed, and instead of getting stronger, they get weaker. All of the calcium that you eat goes into maintaining other bodily functions, rather than your bones.

As a result of this redistribution of nutrients, a calcium deficiency can harm your body. When you don't eat enough calcium, your body starts to steal it from your bones, which causes them to be malleable and more fragile.

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However, consuming calcium rich foods is only half the battle. You also have to make sure you're get enough nutrients to aid absorption of calcium. Yogurt has both of these properties, which makes it a great way to fight postmenopausal osteoporosis.

Along with calcium, you also need vitamin D. This nutrient helps you absorb calcium by directing it from your digestive tract to your organs. Other ingredients found in yogurt that aid in the body's intake of calcium are active cultures; these organisms mingle with the lactose (milk sugar) and create lactic acid, which helps the body break down and absorb calcium found in milk.

Which Yogurt Should I Buy?

The benefits of yogurt largely depend on what kind you buy. See below for a quick checklist of which types of yogurt are best for postmenopause.

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  • Plain yogurt is better than the fruit-flavored varieties because it usually contains more calcium and less sugar.

  • Low-fat yogurt will help typically have fewer calories.

  • Fresh yogurt is better than frozen yogurt, which does not have as many live cultures.

  • Plain, nonfat Greek strained yogurt could be the best option because it calcium and other essential nutrients. It also has twice as much protein as other yogurts.

Recommendation

If you prefer fruit-flavored yogurt, try adding fresh strawberries, blueberries or raspberries to plain, non-fat yogurt. That way you'll get your sweet fix, but the added nutrients and Vitamin C from the fruit. In addition to consuming more calcium, low-impact exercises like jogging and weight lifting can also help build bone strength. Click the following link for more information about postmenopausal osteoporosis.

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Sources:
  • "Menopause and Osteoporosis". Cleveland Clinic. http://my.clevelandclinic.org
  • "What You Need to Know about Osteoporosis". American Physical Therapy Association. www.apta.org.
  • "Calcium and Healthy Bones". New York State Department of Health.www.health.state.ny.us.
  • "Prevention: Who's at Risk". National Osteoporosis Foundation. www.nof.org.