Without our bones, we would be a messy blob lying on the floor, unable to go to the mall, ride bicycles, or, well, much at all, really. Bone health is super important to our overall well-being. Taking care of bones should begin at an early age, when bones are being built. As we age, our bones take a beating through breaks, poor diet, and genetic defects.
Within the last century osteoporosis has become a key word in our health portfolio. Even though osteoporosis is most common in men over the age of 70 and postmenopausal women over the age of 65, there are steps you can take now to prevent brittle bones. Here are a few suggestions to build strong bones:
Exercise is a key component to overall health and building healthy bones is no exception. Statistics show that people who live a sedentary lifestyle are considered at risk for osteoporosis. When you intentionally exercise, blood circulation increases, creating an environment for healthy bones. What are the best exercises for bones? Any weight-bearing exercise builds bone density, including walking, jogging, and skiing.
2. Intake Vitamins D & K
These two vitamins work hand-in-hand to build strong bones. Vitamin D stimulates the absorption of calcium in the intestines, while Vitamin K helps to reduce the amount of calcium excreted through the intestines. Vitamin D can be found in fish oils and soy proteins. Swiss chard, broccoli, and kale are a few of the Superfoods that contain Vitamin K. Check with your health care professional to find the right amount of vitamins D and K that you should add to your diet.
3. Up Your Potassium
Potassium is an important mineral that aids muscle and nerve communication while helping to remove waste from our cells. In a study consisting of premenopausal women, 8% showed a greater bone density when taking increased levels of potassium versus those who consumed less potassium. Foods rich in potassium include bananas, sweet potatoes, and yogurt.
4. Consume Caffeine In Moderation
Plain and simple, caffeine interferes with our body’s ability to absorb calcium. Drinking more than two cups of joe a day can accelerate bone loss. Enjoy your morning coffee, but counteract with a calcium supplement and consume caffeine in moderation.
5. Stop Smoking
Smoking is bad for you. Period. Not only does it impair the rest of your body from being healthy, smoking prevents the absorption of calcium. Find a way. Stop smoking.
6. Know Your Genetics
Genetics and family medical history have a hand in bone health, as well as other medical conditions. Did your grandmother have osteoporosis? If so, you may be at risk to develop osteoporosis, too. It is a good idea to keep a record of family ailments and present the results to your family physician for evaluation.
7. Watch Your Booze
Like caffeine, alcohol in large quantities can be detrimental to your health. Large amounts of alcohol interfere with vitamin D absorption. Alcohol in moderation is okay – two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
8. Moderate Your Salt
Salt is important to our health. Consuming too much salt, however, increases the amount of bone-building minerals (like calcium) through our urine. The daily recommended amount of salt is equivalent to one teaspoon daily (2,300 milligrams), or less.
Stress can cause havoc to a body – including our skeleton. Stress decreases the production of the inflammatory hormone cortisol. Take time to meditate, relax and enjoy life. Peace of mind certainly will bring peace and health to your bones.
Calcium and bones are synonymous. You might think that calcium should be at the number one position in this report, but calcium may not be the ultimate cure for bone loss. Yes, calcium certainly plays a role in bone density and bone health. We need calcium for healthy teeth and organs, too. Calcium alone though may not keep your bones in tip-top shape. Combining calcium with exercise, vitamin D, healthy eating, and avoiding cigarettes, will certainly increase your bone density.
Have you heard the advertisements, Got Milk? While milk is a good source of calcium and vitamin D, some of us are ditching dairy and finding out that life can be lived non-dairy. Many people are finding themselves lactose intolerant. If this is the case, do not forget about protecting your bones. The vitamins and minerals that support bone health can be found in wholesome, nutritious protein, fruits and vegetables. The best advice is to check with your health care professional, review your bone health, and find expert care for your skeleton. Sometimes the things we can’t see, like our bones, are the things that need the most attention. Stay healthy.