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Forget money, let’s invest in our bones

Ruth Ninajanty
Ruth Ninajanty

Mom blogger who enjoys everyday adventure with her son

Jakarta | Mon, April 11, 2016 | 01:53 pm
Forget money, let’s invest in our bones

Bone density reaches its peak when you’re 30 and your bone mass starts to decline after that. (Shutterstock/-)

My mom has been complaining about her bones and making sure everyone at home knows about them.
Now she routinely consumes milk and calcium supplements, which makes me wonder whether I should start doing the same thing.

A recent bone test revealed I have osteopenia. The nurse practitioner at the bone event, where I took my test, described it this way: “Yes, you’re on your way to osteoporosis with lower bone density than normal, which gives me goosebumps, but you still can do something about it.”

A scary result considering I had just started to believe that life begins at 30.

As soon as I had spare time, I did what everyone else is doing: I Googled. Finding out more about this phenomenon on the internet was like having the classic phrase thrown into the air: “Do you want the good news or bad news first?”

I clicked on the bad news.

Bone density reaches its peak when you’re 30 and your bone mass starts to decline after that. The thicker your bones are, the longer it takes for you to develop osteopenia and eventually osteoporosis.
No medication is needed if you’re still in the osteopenia stage, unless you’ve broken a bone, but it’s still best if you invest in your bone thickness before your 30th birthday.

In short, I’m already too late to prevent this from happening.

Let’s move on to the good news. Apparently there are things you can do to slow the process down and prevent osteoporosis from hitting that soon.

Despite her complaints about her bones, my 58-year-old mom never went to the doctor. Neither did she go get a bone test. She had never heard of osteopenia, but had always suspected she would suffer from osteoporosis any time she missed her milk and calcium supplements. Since whatever she has, even if it’s only her paranoia, can be an added factor to my bone health, I decided to start a healthier life this year.

Too late? I hope not.

First, I’m cutting down on caffeine. As an avid black coffee drinker who can finish three cups before dinner every day, this isn’t a happy step, but to avoid sore legs and bone pain in the long run, I’ve been cutting down to one cup.

Then, as you reduce your caffeine consumption, you should increase your vitamin D and calcium intake. Get up earlier and get your daily sunlight dose before work, or on the weekend. Eat salmon for lunch and add eggs to your fried rice.

Milk is an essential source of calcium. Unlike my son, who drinks his milk twice a day, I'm not a fan of the beverage, but I forced myself to start drinking it again.

Lastly comes the suggestion to add more weight-bearing exercises, like walking or dancing, and flexibility workouts like yoga, to your routine.

Since weekdays are out of the picture, I looked for mom-and-me exercise events on the weekend.
What’s left on my “healthy bone investment list” right now is to eat more vegetables, a childhood task I never got around to accomplishing.

My son accompanied me to the bone test and interviewed the nurse practitioner. Since then, he would occasionally request broccoli, a habit I found strange considering he meticulously picks green onions out of his fried rice.

Apparently he found out from the nurse that broccoli is one of the vegetables crucial for investing in bone density and decided he doesn’t want to be the next in the complaining line after my mom and me. So when I set my broccoli aside during my meal he would snobbishly advise: “This vegetable doesn’t taste delicious, but it’s good for your bones, Mom.”

I cringed and moved the greens onto his plate.

Mom blogger who enjoys everyday adventure with her son, Andrew. You're invited to join their dates at

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