Contributed Post and Photo by happyveganfit
Understanding what we’re putting into our bodies is key to maintaining good health. When you have a grasp of the vitamins and minerals available in what you eat, you’re more able to make dietary decisions that will benefit your health in the long run. Specific ingredients can accomplish specific goals, as you’ll see in our article on the ‘Best Anti-Aging Vitamins’ where we list supplements and vitamins that can reduce the signs of aging.
Today, we’re going to talk about another health problem: specifically, what can I do to maintain and improve my bone health? As we age, our bones become less dense, requiring more targeted upkeep and maintenance. If you aren’t quite sure where to start, we’ve prepared a helpful list of things to do to ensure your bones stay as strong and healthy as possible.
Eat Calcium-rich Food
One thing you definitely need to do if you’re concerned about your bone health is to eat food rich in calcium. Medline Plus states that calcium cannot be made by the body, but is instead taken in from the food and rink that we consume.
Because bones are constantly being reabsorbed and remodeled, we need calcium in order to maintain bone density and prevent brittleness. Experts recommend at least 1200 mg of calcium a day, which can be found in foods like dairy products, green leafy vegetables, and fish with edible bones like sardines.
If you take calcium as a supplement, it’s a good idea to also take it with Vitamin K2, to ensure that the calcium gets into the bones where it needs to go.
Take In Enough Protein
While calcium is the main ingredient that contributes to better bone density and health, it’s not the only thing you need to take in. Dietary protein is equally important for your bones’ lifespan. Protein makes up around half the volume of bones, and one-third of their mass, so it plays an important role in preventing diseases like osteoporosis.
Protein can be commonly found in many plant and animal sources. The most popular source is of course through meat such as beef, lamb, pork, or through poultry, seafood, or dairy products. You can also try taking in protein from supplements and powder sources. A post on superfood powder blends published on Brightcore, claims they are great sources of plant-based protein for muscle and bone strengthening. These powders are a great vegetarian alternative for getting your recommended protein intake.
Do Strength Training
Developing bone strength isn’t just done through your diet, but through your lifestyle as well. Poor posture and lack of exercise can contribute to the weakening of your bones, which is why regular activity and strengthening is so important.
The National Institutes of Health recommend a few weight-bearing exercises that can help with improving bone health and strength. These exercises include walking, hiking, jogging, and dancing. If you have weaker bones, it’s best to avoid activities that can lead to you twisting or flexing your spine. Be sure to check in with your doctor regarding which exercises are safe for you.
Avoid Low-Calorie Diets
Another thing you’ll want to do to maintain your bone health is to avoid low-calorie diets. A study by Dr. Maya Styner found that restricting calories while exercising could have an adverse impact on bone strength.
While cutting calories can lead to weight loss, it can also lead to lower density in bones, making them more fragile and prone to breakage. That makes it doubly important to ensure that you’re taking in the appropriate amount of calories per day for your activities.
Reduce Your Sodium Intake
Finally, one of the best things you can do to improve your bone health is to reduce your sodium intake. WebMD cautions against high-sodium diets for people with osteoporosis, as salt can cause calcium loss in the body. (This has to do with acidity–for more on this, read here.)
Calcium loss can eventually lead to weaker bones over time, which can be particularly worrisome for people with lower bone density. Experts advise limiting sodium to around 2300 mg a day, equivalent to a teaspoon of salt. If that’s not possible, you should offset your sodium intake by taking in more calcium and vitamin D for stronger bones.