According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, this serious condition affects approximately 200 million women worldwide: around one-tenth of women aged 60, one-fifth of women aged 70, two-fifths of women aged 80 and two-thirds of women aged 90. While men are less likely to develop this condition, they are not safe from problems associated with poor bone health. With an increasing number of fractures and osteoporosis related problems, taking good care of your bone health is critical. Here we will look at ten easy ways to up your bone health and keep you strong and active for the long haul.
#1: Up Your Calcium Intake
While this will come as a surprise to almost no one, calcium is a major building block for strong, healthy bones. While dairy products will give you much of your daily need for calcium, for some people (specifically those with a genetic predisposition to osteoporosis) this may not be enough. An easy way to boost your calcium intake is to include a high-quality daily supplement that includes calcium.
#2: Stay Active
Did you know that a sedentary lifestyle is one of the major risk factors for osteoporosis? An important way to keep bones as healthy as possible is to engage in weight bearing exercises on a regular basis. A widely cited study including college age women looked to determine whether exercise really effected bone density and overall health. What they found was that students who were highly active had much higher bone density and strength than those who were less active. This remains true as we age. Exercise is a necessary step in maintaining bone health.
#3: Daily Dose of Vitamin D
While most of us know the benefits of calcium for bone health, many of us are blissfully unaware that without sufficient vitamin D, calcium may not be able to do its job. In order for our bodies to absorb the calcium we need each day, it must be paired with vitamin D in order for our bodies to get what it needs. While much of this specific vitamin need comes from soaking up the suns rays, when you cannot get the sun you need a good multi-vitamin will do the trick.
#4: Positives of Potassium
Another mineral that is essential for healthy bones is potassium. A 2008 study conducted by the American Society for Nutrition outlined that potassium is helpful in bone health as it neutralizes some of the acids that have been shown to break down calcium in the body. Additional studies have supported the hypothesis that potassium is an important part of keeping your bones strong and healthy.
#5: Curb Caffeine
While caffeine has some health benefits, bone health is not one of them. Studies have shown that drinking more than two cups of coffee or other caffeinated beverages each day can impair the absorption of calcium, thereby impacting bone health. While you do not have to cut caffeine entirely, keeping it limited to two cups a day is important.
#6: Don’t’ Skimp on Vitamin A
Vitamin A is another vitamin that when well balanced can seriously boost bone health. While research has shown that high levels of vitamin A can have negative effects on bone health, adequate levels lead to stronger, healthier bones. Osteoblasts, which are bone-building cells, are positively impacted by the existence of vitamin A in the body. By including appropriate amounts of this necessary vitamin you can help strengthen bones and avoid fractures.
#7: Quit Smoking
There is no shortage of reasons to quit smoking and bone health is one that sits high on the list. Study after study has shown that smoking prevents the body from effectively absorbing calcium, thereby decreasing bone mass. Quitting smoking can significantly increase your bone density and strength.
#8: Daily Dose of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is among the wonder vitamins that can improve health and wellness is a number of ways. Adequate amounts of vitamin C have been linked with improved bone density. This is largely because the vitamin is a key part of the formation of collagen, which is the foundation of bone mineralization.
#9: Pay Attention to Your Diet
One simple way you can boost your bone health is to be mindful of what you fuel your body with. Include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in your daily routine and keep processed foods to a minimum. Include calcium and vitamin rich foods as much as possible to ensure that you get a good balance of the necessary vitamins and minerals to maintain bone health.
#10: Vitamin K and Bone Development
Vitamin K is a foundation of normal bone growth and development. It is responsible for drawing calcium into our bones. People with low levels of vitamin K in their blood stream have been shown to have lower bone density and an increased risk of fractures.
The risk of brittle, unhealthy bones is real. As we age our risk of fractures rises steadily. The best way to avoid problems with broken bones as you age is to take care of your bones throughout your life. The right balance of diet, exercise, healthy living and supplementation can serve as the path to strong bones. By engaging in these ten simple steps you can be on your way to stronger, healthier bones.