Your skeletal system provides structural and integral support to the entire body, and it is essential to maintain bone health through nutrition and exercise.
This article provides some beneficial tips to take care of your bones and prevent bone diseases such as osteoporosis or osteoarthritis. (1)
Tips to Keep Your Bones Strong and Healthy
Here are some practices you should follow for optimum bone health.
1. Maintain a healthy weight
Although body mass index (BMI) is not a holistic measurement of health, maintaining a healthy weight within the range of a normal BMI can protect your bones from damage.
Being overweight can put additional strain on your bones and cause damage in the long run. Conversely, being underweight is linked to many nutritional deficiencies that can also be detrimental to your bones. (2)
2. Eat a balanced diet
Nutritional deficiencies are the root cause of weak bones in most people. Try to consume a balanced diet that contains the recommended amount of protein, carbs, calcium, iron, etc., to avoid this problem.
3. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco
Harmful habits such as smoking or alcohol consumption can be severely detrimental to your bone health in the long term.
Some studies also suggest that coffee can increase the risk of osteoporosis, although not all studies support these results. Therefore, it is important to limit the number of caffeinated drinks, such as tea or coffee, you consume in a day. (4)
Tobacco smoke can weaken bones by causing loss of bone mass and increasing free radicals in the body. Studies have found cessation of smoking to reverse these negative effects and improve bone health. Therefore, it is better to quit smoking for better bone health. (5)(6)
4. Eat high-calcium foods
Most people do not get enough calcium in their diet. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for calcium varies is 1,000 mg–1,300 mg based on individual needs.
5. Get plenty of vitamins D and K
Vitamins D and K are widely linked to strong bones. Vitamin D helps your body absorb more calcium from the food you consume, while vitamin K helps prevent calcium and mineral loss from bone. (9)
Some vitamin D-rich foods include milk, meat, and bone broth. Sunlight exposure also helps increase vitamin D levels in your body.
Vitamin K2 is mostly found in cheese, meat, milk, etc.
6. Eat foods high in magnesium and zinc
Magnesium helps bind vitamin D to calcium and helps the body absorb calcium from food. Zinc helps prevent bone decay by preventing mineral loss. Common sources of zinc include spinach, fish, nuts, and seeds.
7. Eat foods high in omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They can help fight bone infections and inflammatory bone conditions such as osteoarthritis.
8. Cut back on soft drinks
Carbonated beverages contain phosphoric acid, which is linked to bone decay and calcium depletion from the body, thus increasing the overall risk of fractures. It may be in your best interest to avoid soft drinks altogether. (10)
9. Stay active
Strength training is linked to strong bones and muscles. Recent studies indicate that putting positive stress on bones, such as in strength training exercises, may help increase the bone-forming capacity of cells as well as overall bone strength. (11)
Many people assume that bone health is something they don’t have to worry about until they become senior citizens. This is an ill-informed view and needs to be eradicated.
Start taking care of your bones today so they can take care of your body when you are older.