Strengthening your bones might not be one of your priorities but if you know how adversely it can affect your quality of life, you would never compromise on their health. It is during the early years of your life that you can build a bone bank that will help in leading the later years of your life stress-free. If you have been a wild child, and haven’t eaten healthy food during the teenage years, you are at a high risk of osteoporosis.
It is researched that 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men will experience a fracture in their lifetime because of osteoporosis. The 2011 JAMA Internal Medicine study revealed that women aged 65 to 69 who break their hip are five times more likely to die within the next year as compared to their strong-hipped peers. However, it is never too late to choose a healthy lifestyle, so you should take steps to prevent further loss of your bone density.
Even if you have abused your body in the past, let us tell you some futile tips to ensure better bone health than before.
Know Your Health Condition Well
Before you start with a healthy regime, it is essential to know how much improvement is required. If you aren’t sure where you stand on the bone-strength scale, it is better to head out to an orthopedic clinic where the doctor will ask you to undergo a couple of tests.
The most accurate results are attained through the bone-density test known as a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan. For women, it should be done as soon as they reach menopause, and earlier if the bone health appears to be feebler.
This test is fast, painless, and isn’t even costly. If the test score is between 1 and -1, then the person has normal bone density. A score between -1 and -2.5 indicates that the bones are less dense than they should be, whereas a value less than -2.5 indicates osteoporosis.
Opt for an Active Lifestyle
Continuous inactivity will make your bones and muscles lose strength and this, in turn, increases the risk of falls, fractures, and osteoporosis. People of over 50 years of age should incorporate at least 150 minutes of exercise throughout the week.
If your health doesn’t allow you to go for weight training and other heavy exercises, you can choose to do some moderate activity. This will still increase your heart rate and make you feel warmer because of fast breathing. These activities include water aerobics, walking, pushing a lawnmower, and riding a bike.
You can even work on improving your muscle strength by dancing, going up and down the stairs, exercising on music, and yoga. These activities improve your balance and coordination, which minimizes the risk of falling and saves you from unexpected fractures.
Get Enough of Vitamin D and Vitamin K
Vitamin D is essential for bone health and strong muscles. It is during the summer months (March through September) that our bodies soak up enough sunlight and utilize it to make Vitamin D. 41.6% of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D as they don’t get enough light.
If you don’t go out quite often, it is better to take a daily supplement. For people over 50 years of age, a vitamin D supplement of 400 IU every day is recommended. Dark-skinned people may not be able to get sufficient Vitamin D from sunlight so they should rely on a supplement in any case.
There are multiple foods rich in Vitamin D, especially oily fish like mackerel and salmon, some breakfast cereals, fortified orange juice, fortified rice and soy beverages, margarine, and egg yolks.
Make Vegetables an Integral Part of Your Diet
By incorporating vegetables in your diet, you are actively taking rich amounts of Vitamin C. Not only does Vitamin C stimulate the production of bone-forming cells but some studies suggest that its antioxidant effects also protect the bone cells from any kind of damage.
Vegetables tend to increase bone mineral density, which indicates the amount of calcium and other minerals in your bones. In young adults, a high intake of green and yellow vegetables increases the bone mineralization and bring about benefits in the older age.
A three-month study was conducted in which women consumed more than nine servings of cabbage, broccoli, parsley, and other plants containing bone-protective oxidants. It was found that there was a significant decrease in bone turnover in those women.
Try Eating Calcium-Rich Foods throughout the Day
Without a doubt, calcium is the most important mineral for bone health and is the main constituent of your bones. It is essential to consume it daily if you want to protect the strength and structure of your bones.
The RDI for calcium is 1,000 mg per day but older people, especially women, require 1,200 mg daily. It is better to take calcium through food instead of supplements, but the amount absorbed by the body varies greatly.
A recent study conducted on 1,567 people revealed that high-calcium intake from foods will decrease the rate of heart disease. On the other hand, those taking the supplements are prone to a 22% higher risk of developing heart disease.
No matter what stage of life you are in, bone health is extremely important. People tend to take having strong bones for granted until they start experiencing the adverse effects of lost bone density. Fortunately, several lifestyle and nutrition habits can help in building back the strength and density of the bones.
First of all, one must limit the consumption of caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine as all of them lead to faster bone loss. Choose your health over everything else. Gain weight if you need to or shed a few pounds if you want to put less pressure on your knees. The best thing is it is never too late to start, so better now than never.