Healthy bones are important in giving your body support, facilitating movement, protecting internal organs, storing calcium, minerals, and fats, and anchoring your muscles. Building strong bones starts in infancy. At this stage, your bones are in its most rapid development and continue to grow and strengthen in your childhood years.
Bone mass continues to increase until 30 years old. Though you still continue to gain bone mass after this age, losing bone mass is most noticeable than gaining new ones. But age is not the only factor that affects the health of your bones. Some factors include the following:
- Low calcium diet may result in osteoporosis and bone fractures.
- An inactive lifestyle may also cause osteoporosis.
- Tobacco use and heavy drinking are linked to a higher risk of osteoporosis.
- Women are more at risk of developing osteoporosis since they have less bone tissue compared to men.
- Thin or small body frame can be a risk factor for osteoporosis because it shows a lesser bone mass.
- Older people have thinner and weaker bone mass.
- White people, those with Asian descent, and those who have osteoporosis that runs in the family are more at risk.
- Low testosterone levels in men decrease bone mass.
- People with anorexia may be at risk of bone loss.
- The inability of the body to absorb calcium due to surgery and certain diseases may contribute to less bone mass.
- Long term use of some drugs may put some people at risk of osteoporosis.
Bone health is very important to avoid fractures and bone related issues. Having strong bones while growing up is not a guarantee that it will last throughout your lifetime. You need to protect your bones and keep it healthy to prevent bone loss and osteoporosis:
Because bones are living tissue, the more you use your bones, the more you strengthen them. Engaging in weight bearing exercises like walking, jogging or dancing can encourage the formation of new bone tissue, which strengthens the bones.
Building strong bones isn’t only limited to these activities. Muscle exercises also contribute to stronger and healthier bones. With strong muscles, you enhance your coordination and balance. Other activities that strengthen your bones are resistance exercises such as weight lifting. Swimming and bicycling are excellent ways to maintain strong bones and maintain heart health.
If you’re 40 years old and above, lead a less active lifestyle or have health issues like obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes, you need to check with a health professional before starting a new exercise regimen. This is to ensure that you’re not pushing yourself too hard and prevent fractures and injuries.
People with low bone mass are advised to take care of their spine and avoid exercises that bend or flex the spine. Experts recommend a regular physical exercise of at least 30 minutes daily. This is enough to keep your bones and muscle stay stronger.
Get Yourself Enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium and promotes bone growth. A deficiency may lead to soft bones in children and weak bones in adults, which may result in fractures and injuries. Aside from these, vitamin D deficiencies may also lead to other serious health problems like cancer in the breast, colon, and prostate, and diseases in the heart.
Your body produces vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight. According to experts, exposing your bare skin to sunlight for 30 minutes at least two times a week without sunscreen can provide your body with enough supply of vitamin D. However, the sun’s UV rays may be too harsh for you. The morning sunlight, which is much gentler on the skin is much safer.
But in places where the sun doesn’t shine regularly, getting vitamin D from food sources is highly recommended. The top three best sources include salmon, mackerel, and mushrooms that have been exposed to ultraviolet light. Other good sources are canned sardines and tuna, beef liver, cod liver oil, egg yolks, and cheese. Dairy products like milk, yogurt, cereals, and others that are fortified with vitamin D are also recommended.
Have a Calcium-Rich Diet
Your body needs calcium to ensure healthy bones. Regardless of your age, a daily dose of calcium is important to maintain healthy bones and keep it to function well. Since the gut can sometimes interfere with calcium absorption, you need to make sure that you’re consuming foods high in vitamin D content, which enhance calcium absorption.
The good sources of calcium are milk and cheese. Aside from dairy products, the best sources of calcium are fruits and vegetables. These include the following superfoods:
Dark leafy greens, such as bok choy, cabbage, and collard greens are rich in calcium and vitamin K, which help prevent osteoporosis.
Sweet potato is high in magnesium and potassium. Magnesium helps with vitamin D balance while potassium neutralizes acid in the body and helps store calcium in the bones.
Oranges are high in vitamin C, which help prevent bone loss.
Figs are other good sources for magnesium and potassium, which help strengthen the bones. Dried or fresh figs provide the same benefits.
Almond is not only a rich source of calcium but also of potassium, protein, and other nutrients that support bone growth.
Coconut, soybeans, and almond milk
For strict vegetarians, the milk from these plants is a healthy and effective alternative to dairy milk. They’re rich in calcium and vitamin D.
Tofu is another vegan food that contains high levels of calcium. In fact, it’s recommended as the best source of calcium for menopausal women to keep their bones healthy and prevent osteoporosis.
Though prunes are mostly recommended to older people for bone health, experts advise that people of any age should take them too. According to research, eating dried plums every day along with calcium and vitamin D, help greatly in bone density and prevent bone loss.
Molasses is a healthy alternative to artificial sweeteners and is also a rich source of calcium.