There’s More to Healthy Bones Than Calcium!
What framing is to a building, that’s what bones are to our bodies – a support system that shapes them and gives us the ability to move.
However, there’s a certain point in everyone’s life called peak bone mass and it happens around the age of 30. Up to that point, your body is producing bone mass but after peak bone mass, the rate of building bones slows down and problems start piling up.
Bone weakening and osteoporosis are common problems for everyone over 60 but especially for postmenopausal women over the age of 65. Luckily, there are things you can do preserve your bones and make them healthier, regardless of your age.
There’s More to Healthy Bones Than Calcium
Everybody knows that calcium is essential for healthy bones – it’s the mineral necessary for their proper development and it can be found mostly in dairy products. On the other hand, it’s possible to include calcium into your diet even if you decide to go dairy-free – kale, almonds, white beans, and sesame seeds can be your sources of this precious mineral.
But simply eating these foods every day won’t benefit your bones. The trick is in pairing foods rich in calcium with foods that contain vitamin D. These two work best when together – vitamin D is like a key that unlocks calcium in your body – so make sure you include fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel and tuna; fortified cereals, eggs, and beef liver in your diet, too.
For bone density, vitamin K is a must since it can help your body make proteins for healthy bones while potassium neutralizes acids that remove calcium from your body. Pump up both of those by eating more leafy greens, white and sweet potatoes and bananas. Maintain a healthy diet to do what’s in your power to help your bones.
Get Your Body Moving
Regular exercise is the most effective way to keep your bones healthy, especially once you reach the golden age. In fact, a sedentary lifestyle can lead to osteoporosis but it’s also important to understand what kinds of exercise will the most beneficial.
Weight-bearing activities, such as jogging, walking, skiing, rope jumping, etc. keep bone health issues at bay. Moderate weight-lifting activity is also fine; it will keep your bones strong and help you move more easily.
Another important thing to consider is the quality of the clothes you’re going to work out in. Namely, adequate fitness clothing will provide proper support for your muscles and bones and let you exercise freely – without the fear of injury. It’s also important to choose the right athletic clothing for the physical activity you wish to engage in – good running shoes for jogging, professional gloves for weightlifting, etc. Better results also come with proper clothes, so make sure you’re adequately equipped.
The Biggest Don’ts for Healthy Bones
Besides eating the right foods and exercising regularly, preserving your bones depends on other factors, too, and there are certain behaviours that can surely do your bones no good.
Smoking gets the top of the no-no list. Smoking reduces the amount of calcium your bones get because it interferes with the way your body uses vitamin D, essential for proper calcium absorption. Smoking also lowers the levels of estrogen, which is important to help bones keep calcium and other minerals.
Besides, it’s toxic to osteoblasts, bone-forming cells that are essential for the good health of your skeletal system.
Although caffeine can have some health benefits, that’s not relevant to the bones. Too much of it also interferes with calcium absorption and makes your bones brittle. Alcohol also affects the vitamin D in your body, so try to moderate the intake. There’s no need to avoid coffee and an occasional glass of wine but try to lower their consumption – your skeletal system will be thankful.
Although osteoporosis is very common, there are certain steps that can be taken to counteract it and keep your bones healthy. Watch what you eat, stay active and up on your feet, and try to kick at least some of the unhealthy habits. Remember that your bones are there to support you – the least you can do is to support them, too!
What are you doing to make sure that you have healthy bones in the decades ahead? Are there certain foods you have added to your diet? What about exercise routines? Have you had any experiences with osteoporosis that you would like to share with the community? Please join the conversation.