Building Better Habits for Bone Health
Bones are one of the most interesting parts of the body. Lightweight yet strong, they provide both structure and flexibility, keep organs protected, and allow humans to be mobile. As we get older, bone health can degrade, making it all the more important to maintain a minimum level of strength and stability. Follow these tips culled from leading medical publications for better bone health through life—but be sure to check with your primary care physician before making any changes to your diet or habits.
Things to do to assist bone health:
- Pay attention to the calcium in your diet. Calcium isn’t just for young people. It contributes to the production of minerals that keep bones healthy and strong. Good sources of calcium include milk, green leafy vegetables such as kale, and breads made with fortified flour.
- Also make sure you’re getting Vitamin D and Vitamin K. Calcium doesn’t work without the help of these two nutrients, which enable calcium’s absorption into the blood and act as carriers to help transport it to bones. Good sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, saltwater fish, liver, and fortified milk. Vitamin K is best found in leafy green vegetables and soy products.
- Eat protein-rich foods. Proteins help to support bone structure and strength. Meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products all contain complete proteins, as well as beans, nuts, seeds, and soy products.
- Include some strength training exercises in your regimen. In addition to cardio, the CDC recommends including some weight-lifting in your visits to the gym or your home workouts. Studies have shown this helps stabilize and reduce bone loss.
- Don’t smoke or drink to excess. According to the Mayo Clinic, studies have shown that smoking, and drinking more than two alcoholic drinks a day, have separately contributed to an increased risk of osteoporosis, a skeletal disorder characterized by low bone mass.
- Talk to your PCP about bone health. Your doctor can inform you of any risk factors you may have for bone loss. Ask if you can get a bone density test to learn more. Post-menopausal women can also look into hormone therapy to counteract a lack of estrogen, which is proven to contribute to bone loss, according to the Cleveland Clinic.