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Can An Apple a Day Keep Osteoporosis Away?

Many of us were probably told as children that eating “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” and as it turns out, this advice may actually be true. Apples contain a secret ingredient of sorts–phloridzin, a powerful flavonoid antioxidant with some serious bone-boosting power. What’s more, phloridzin is only found in apples, so if you want to reap its osteoporosis prevention benefits, you’ll need to follow that old childhood mantra.

What Is Phloridzin?

There are a variety of both environmental and genetic factors that can contribute to your risk for developing osteoporosis. One of the largest of these contributors is declining estrogen levels in postmenopausal women, as estrogen plays a key role in bone growth and repair (Maturitas). So when estrogen levels begin to decline along with the natural aging process, bone density and cell turnover also tend to decline.

Phloridzin, which is primarily found in apple peels but also exists within the fibers, may help to decrease this loss of bone density thanks to its strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This potent flavonoid can prevent bone density loss caused by low estrogen, significantly reduce inflammation that may lead to decreased bone strength, and neutralize the oxidation of potentially harmful free radicals in the body (Calcified Tissue International).

Osteoporosis Prevention Strategies

The idea behind eating “an apple a day,” whether related to osteoporosis or simply your general health, is that there are small, everyday decisions that you can make to help prevent certain diseases and ailments before they have a chance to become a larger concern.

The research certainly does suggest that apples may have some superpowers when it comes to your bone health and overall well-being, so following this age-old advice might not be such a bad idea. But in addition to doing plenty of apple-picking this fall, there are a number of other ways you can help to strengthen your bones every single day.

  • Eat a well-balanced diet. Apples aren’t the only superfruits for excellent bone health. Packing your plate with plenty of colorful fruits, veggies, and whole grains can help to supply your body with the balanced nutrients it needs to stay strong and healthy. 
  • Get moving. No matter what stage of life you’re currently in, getting enough exercise on a regular basis is crucial for keeping your bones (and entire body) happy and healthy. Strive for getting 20 to 30 minutes of exercise a day, even if that means adjusting your workday to include a walk around the block or some strength training on your lunch break.
  • Don’t rely on the sun for your vitamin D needs. Remember that in order for your body to properly absorb all of the calcium that you’re putting into it through great food choices and even supplements, you’ll also need enough vitamin D. But there’s no need to put your skin at risk for the sake of boosting your vitamin D levels. Pairing a vitamin D supplement with your calcium-rich dietary choices is one of the best ways to make sure your body is getting all those vital nutrients (Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General).
  • See a specialist. If you do notice that you’re experiencing constant joint pain or other musculoskeletal health concerns, don’t hesitate to seek a professional opinion. Consulting an orthopedic surgeon doesn’t have to be a last-resort effort; it can also be a great preventive measure to get your bone health on track.

Join the Conversation

Osteoporosis is a common health concern among women all over the globe. If you’re interested in becoming a part of an empowering conversation concerning all things related to women’s health, consider signing up today for the Women’s Health Conversations 2016 Conference to be held in Pittsburgh, PA. During this educational and entertaining health conference, you can have the opportunity to hear from a variety of speakers who are experts in their fields, as well as meet other women who are just as passionate about women’s health as you are!

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