Monday, July 17, 2017
by Amanda Rothe, RD/LD/CDE
Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator
This week we will review incorporating low fat dairy products into your meal plan. The dairy group includes milk, yogurt, cheese and fortified soymilk. Dairy products provide important nutrients that are essential in maintaining overall health such as calcium, vitamin D, potassium, and protein. Dairy foods are especially important to build the growing bones of children and teens. Regular intake of low fat dairy products has also been shown to help prevent osteoporosis, high blood pressure and help maintain a healthy weight in adults. Osteoporosis is a common problem that causes bones to become abnormally thin, weakened, and easily broken (fractured). Women are at a higher risk for osteoporosis after menopause due to lower levels of estrogen, a female hormone that helps to maintain bone mass.
Some of the most important treatments for preventing osteoporosis include diet, exercise, and not smoking. Most individuals need 2-3 servings of dairy products each day in their diet. One serving of dairy includes 1 cup of milk, soymilk or yogurt, or 1 ½ ounces of cheese. If you are lactose intolerant or can’t drink milk, try lactose free milk or a fortified soymilk. Some individuals who can’t tolerate milk are able to consume small amounts of cheese and yogurt to meet their calcium needs. If you are unable to consume any dairy products you may consider a calcium supplement and you may need a Vitamin D supplement.
Find simple ways to incorporate more low fat dairy products into your meal plan without adding excessive calories and fat. Examples include:
- Add fat-free milk to your cereal or oatmeal in the morning.
- Choose plain, light or Greek yogurt as a healthy choice for dessert
- Make a fruit smoothie with frozen fruit and plain yogurt for an afternoon snack
- Choose low fat cheese in some of your favorite recipes
- Substitute plain, low-fat yogurt in recipes instead of sour cream.
Could you be at risk for Osteoporosis? Testing your bone density is the only way to know for sure if you have osteoporosis. One common test doctors use is called dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), which is used to conduct bone mineral density (BMD) tests to analyze your bone mass. Test results will indicate how strong and healthy your bones are, and determine if you have, or are at risk for, osteoporosis. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends DEXA scans for bone density for:
- Women ages 65 or older
- Women ages 60 or older who have a higher chance of getting a fracture
Talk to your doctor about whether the test is a good idea for you.
Medina Regional Hospital offers bone density testing (DEXA) by appointment. Ask your healthcare provider if this test is recommended, or call our Imaging Department at 830-426-7722.