The 10 Commandments for Strong and Healthy Bones
The words “women” and “osteoporosis” almost always go together. Indeed, women suffer from osteoporosis most frequently. While it has a clear hereditary component, your lifestyle and diet are two key factors that can help you prevent its occurrence.
Whenever we talk about osteoporosis, it’s almost always in relation to women between the ages of 55 and 70, because this is the stage in your life when your bones are more fragile and you run the highest risk of fractures. But while it’s true that after menopause, your estrogen levels decrease and cause bone density loss, your calcium levels have actually been decreasing since you were 30. This is why it’s essential that you start taking action at a young age.
The good news is that osteoporosis can be prevented by consuming a diet rich in calcium throughout your lifetime, before bone density loss begins. But if you already have osteoporosis, today’s 10 commandments for strong and healthy your bones will still be important to you, and will help you raise your calcium stores.
Find out more below!
1. Control your weight
Try to maintain the appropriate weight balance for your age and height. Everyone has an ideal weight where they feel fit and enjoy good health, and that doesn’t mean that you need to “be very thin.” Don’t forget, neither extreme is ever good for your health.
But when you’re overweight it puts an “additional” burden on your bones, causing extra wear and weakness. Extremely thin physiques also force the body to draw energy from the muscle tissues themselves, causing calcium loss in the bones. So remember to always strive for that target, healthy weight.
2. The importance of vitamin D
You can find vitamin D as a supplement in drug stores. Vitamin D helps strengthen your bones and will ensure that the calcium you get from your food is properly absorbed, and not lost.
While vitamin D is also found in salmon and fortified milk, the levels in these products are not very high. It’s a better idea to talk to your doctor, who will recommend the correct amount for you as a supplement.
3. The benefits of vitamin K
Have you ever heard of vitamin K? It might not be as well known as, say, vitamin C, but it helps renew your bone tissue, making them stronger and more dense. Don’t forget the fact that bones are “living tissues” that need to be regenerated from time to time.
That’s why you should increase your consumption of the following foods:
4. Are dairy products good for the bones?
The simple issue of cow’s milk raises a lot of controversy, as you no doubt already know. Is it good for you, or hazardous to your health? Milk contains animal proteins that aren’t processed well by everyone, so it’s up to you to determine if drinking that glass of milk suits your body or not.
Milk that’s enriched with calcium and vitamin D can be quite good for you. Still, there are other foods that are rich in calcium if you’re looking for some alternative options:
- Fortified grains
- Sardines in oil
- Greek yogurt
- Tahini (this is a paste made from roasted sesame seeds that’s rich in calcium, and can be found in most grocery or health food stores)
Please read: 8 foods that help prevent osteoporosis
5. Be careful with vitamin E!
According to a recent publication in the Journal of Natural Medicine, if you exceed the recommended daily allowance of vitamin E (found in sunflower oil, avocados, almonds, and peanuts), it could cause the formation of osteoclasts, a type of cell that degrades the bone structure and causes osteoporosis.
So even though vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, don’t consume too much of it. That means stop cooking everything with sunflower oil, for example. Choose olive oil instead and take better care of your bones.
6. Avoid drinking sodas
It’s fine to have a soft drink a couple times a week. Just keep in mind that these sugary drinks contain a type of acid that directly attacks your bone health. Drink them in moderation!
7. Don’t eat so much red meat
Red meat is another product that’s high in animal protein, which releases certain acids into the bloodstream that neutralize your calcium intake. This keeps calcium from being absorbed into your bones. Instead, choose lean meats like turkey and chicken.
8. Avoid using tobacco products
There’s no telling how many times we’ve recommended giving up this harmful and dangerous habit. But if all the other health effects weren’t enough, tobacco and the nicotine that’s absorbed by your bloodstream are direct enemies to your bone health and can decrease bone density.
9. Drink coffee, but only in moderation
Drinking coffee is fine as long as you consume it in moderation, that is, no more than two cups a day.
Want to know more? Read: Healthier ways to drink coffee
10. Get exercise
You don’t need to run a marathon or spend half your paycheck on a gym membership. Your bones will benefit from even moderate, gentle exercise like walking every day for half an hour, or swimming twice a week. Exercise not only strengthens your bone density, but helps maintain flexibility and improves your overall well being.
Shouldn’t you start practicing these simple tips today?