Bone Up This National Nutrition Month with Tips from Nutritionist Heather Bauer

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Nutritionist Heather Bauer, RD, CDN, author of the newly released book Bread is the Devil from St. Martin's Press, offers tips for people who are trying to change their eating routines to drop the pounds in celebration of National Nutrition Month this March.

If bread is not your personal devil, Bauer's book offers advice on how to build sensible, healthy meals, high in protein with complex carbs and avoid other demons—from ice cream and chips to that big slab of butter cream-frosted birthday cake. It's important, however, not to skimp on the calcium when watching what you eat. Females fall short on calcium by at least 20 percent, getting only 500 to 700 mg per day—that's significantly less than the recommended amount—putting them at risk of osteoporosis.

To decrease your chance of osteoporosis, Heather Bauer suggests:

1. Think of your bones as living, breathing tissue. They can be built up and broken down with certain determining factors. These factors include daily intake of at least 1,000mg of calcium supplemented with Vitamin D for optimal absorption and weight-bearing exercise.

2. By the time we hit our 30s, we stop naturally building bone mass and start losing it. Counteract this with anything that forces your body to defy gravity. Activities include dancing, jogging, tennis, even stair climbing. Make sure to avoid escalators and elevators!

3. Lifting weights at the gym gives you muscle tone, right? Well, calcium acts in the same way to keep your blood vessels toned. Calcium rich foods like milk, cheese, sardines, figs, and dark leafy greens like spinach can be tough to eat a lot of, so consider a calcium supplement (like Adora) if you're not meeting the recommended daily value.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 10 million Americans are estimated to have osteoporosis and almost 34 million more are estimated to have low bone density, increasing their risk of osteoporosis and broken bones.  National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education and information campaign sponsored annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. National Nutrition Month focuses on the importance of developing healthy eating and physical activity habits, including meeting daily calcium requirements and performing various exercises to build strong bones, which is imperative in the fight against osteoporosis.

For more information about National Nutrition Month, visit eatright.org.