Top 5 Tips for Keeping Your Bones Healthy | Southstar Drug
Your bones give your body structure and protect certain organs like the brain, heart, and lungs. In addition, your bones also facilitate movement together with your muscles. Perhaps most crucially, your bones serve as a repository for minerals and contain the bone marrow that develops and stores blood cells. In short, it’s important to keep your bones in good shape for your overall health.
However, by the time you reach the age of 30, your body starts to break down old bone cells slightly faster than it can make new ones. If you weren’t able to reach peak bone mass by that age, you’ll be more prone to developing osteoporosis (brittle bones). That said, this doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to maintain your bone health as you grow older. Here are some tips you can follow to keep your bones in peak form at any age:
Eat Green and Yellow Vegetables
People rarely associate vegetables with bone health, but leafy greens and yellow vegetables are actually great for your bones! This is because of vitamin C, which stimulates the body’s production of bone-forming cells. In addition, vitamin C may also help protect the bones from damage caused by free radicals.
Some studies have also shown that eating plenty of vegetables promotes bone mineralization and helps maintain bone mass. For women, a diet rich in vegetables has been found to decrease bone turnover or the cycle of breaking down and forming new bone cells. In turn, this lowers the risk of developing osteoporosis.
Some of the best vegetables to keep your bones healthy include broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, kale, and okra—the greener, the better. Your bones will also benefit from squash and potatoes, both of which are rich in manganese. This mineral is crucial in bone mineralization.
Get Enough Calcium and Vitamin D
It’s a lesson from childhood that bears repeating as time goes by: calcium is good for your bones. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is 1,000 mg per day for adults up to 50 years old; the RDA increases to 1,200 mg for men older than 71 and women older than 51. The latter is due to women being more prone to osteoporosis.
The best sources of calcium include dairy products, soy, and vegetables like broccoli and kale. You can also get some calcium from certain fish, like salmon and sardines.
That said, calcium won’t do much for your body if it isn’t absorbed. For this, your body needs a sufficient amount of vitamin D. The RDA is 600 IUs for 19- to 60-year-olds and 800 IUs for 71-year-olds and beyond. You can get vitamin D from oily fish like salmon and tuna, as well as fortified cereals and dairy. Getting ample sunlight exposure also helps the body produce vitamin D.
If you aren’t sure about the amount of calcium and vitamin D you’re getting from your diet, you can buy medicine online from trusted drugstores. However, consult your doctor first before you consume such supplements to know the exact dosage you need.
Eat the Right Amount of Protein
Most people associate protein with muscle health, but it’s actually an important nutrient for the bones as well. After all, the bones are made up of about 50% protein. Studies have also shown that if you don’t have enough of this nutrient, your body absorbs less calcium; this affects the rate of new bone formation.
That said, too much protein may also lead to calcium leaching. This is when the body uses the calcium from the bones to neutralize the increased blood acidity. To prevent this issue, it’s crucial to eat a balanced diet with a focus on plant-based foods. You also shouldn’t consume more than 100 grams of protein per day.
Keep Your Weight in Check
Did you know that your weight plays a role in your bone health? If you’re underweight, you may be at risk of developing either osteopenia (loss of bone mineral density) and osteoporosis. This is why you avoid extreme diets that restrict your calorie intake by fewer than 1,000 calories a day. On the other hand, being overweight or obese can put excess stress on your bones. This can lower bone quality and increase the risk of features.
Thus, you need to be more watchful of your weight. Work with your doctor to reach your ideal muscle mass and bone density based on your age, ethnicity, gender, and height. In addition, make an effort to keep your weight as consistent as possible. This is because you can’t reverse the bone loss that occurs when you shed some pounds. If your weight fluctuates too often, consult your doctor to figure out the root cause.
Get Some Exercise
Last but certainly not least, you can keep your bones healthy through a good workout. In particular, strength training, weight-lifting, and high-impact exercise have been found to result in higher bone density and increased bone-building. Those who get ample exercise in their younger years also tend to retain more bone mass as they grow older.
Think of your skeleton as the foundation or framework of a building. If it isn’t in good shape, the structure can collapse—sometimes without warning! Thankfully, these simple tips can help ensure that your bones will stay strong and healthy from youth to old age.