by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
Bones and joints are the most important part of the human body. From providing a framework for your body to protecting your internal organs from damage, there’s no doubt you should constantly be working towards improving your bone health.
If you have been taking your bone health for granted up until now, it’s time to start getting serious. Taking your bone health lightly may lead to long-term health issues that can be detrimental to your mobility.
Let’s get into the details of why bone health is so important and things you should start paying closer attention to.
Foods That Support Bone Health
A healthy nutrition plan is the foundation of bone health. Here are a few food items that you should start including in your plan that can help improve bone health:
- Dairy products like milk, cheese, curd, etc.
- Nuts and seeds
- Green veggies and fruits
- Beans, mushrooms, and fish
Food Items You Should Avoid
Now, you might be wondering if there are any food or beverages that you should avoid? Well, just like there are a few items that can aid in strengthening bone health, there are a few items that can cause harm to your bones when consumed in excess, such as:
- Items that contain excessive amounts of sodium
- Sugary snacks
- Red meat
- Carbonated drinks
Main Factors That Affect Bone Health
As the research shows, there are various factors that can affect bone health. Here are a few of the things you need to be made aware of:
Your bone health can depend on heredity. There are some enzymes that are responsible for the production of bones in the body, which can play a role in your bone strength and density. Therefore, it’s important to understand that genes play an essential role in the overall growth and development of bones.
Research shows that growth hormone is involved in bone growth and development. However, with age, the production of growth hormones reduces, which can put you at a greater risk for bone issues.
3. Physical Exercise
As per research, physical activity is incredibly important from an early stage so that a child can achieve maximum peak bone mass. It is recommended to include activities that are weight-bearing and have some sort of impact on the body, such as running, jumping, etc.
Having a well-balanced nutrition plan is one of the most important parts of overall bone development and strength. Studies show that protein, calcium, and phosphorus are necessary for the bone matrix. Also, your body needs Vitamin D to absorb phosphorus and calcium effectively.
Taking care of bone health from childhood is imperative to building bone strength. However, it’s never too late to start.
Let’s explore some various ways to improve bone health.
Ways to Help Improve Bone Health
Studies show that bone mineral accrual takes place from 8-30 years of age. Once you hit 30 years, you will generally achieve peak bone mass. Now, if you cannot create enough bone mass by this time, you may develop fragile bones, which can cause breaks and fractures.
Here are a few lifestyle habits that you can develop to build healthy and strong bones:
1. Consume More Protein
50% of bone is made up of protein. According to research, low protein intake decreases calcium absorption, which can affect the rate of bone formation and lead to its breakdown.
Also, a nutrition plan containing more calories from protein helps preserve bone mass during weight loss.
2. Consume Foods High in Calcium
When it comes to bone health, calcium is the first thing that comes to mind, right? From an early age, you were probably told to drink milk due to the high concentration of calcium in the beverage to “help build strong bones.”
Well, calcium is the most crucial mineral for overall bone health. Studies show that the recommended daily calcium intake in a diet is 1000mg per day (for most people). Including high-calcium foods in your nutrition plan is crucial and can help to improve bone health.
3. Eat More Vegetables
Vegetables are essential for your bone health as they help increase bone density.
Studies show that intake of green and yellow vegetables is linked to increased bone mineralization during childhood and maintaining bone health during adulthood.
A 3-month study shows that women consuming more than nine servings of broccoli, cabbage, or plants high in bone-protective antioxidants show a decrease in bone mineral turnover.
4. Perform Strength Training Activities
There are specific types of exercises that help in maintaining strong bones. Exercises like weight-bearing or high-impact exercises promote the formation of strong bones.
As per studies, men and women who perform weight-bearing exercises show an increase in bone mineral density, an improvement in bone strength and size, and a reduction in inflammation.
What’s Bottom Line?
Your bones do much more than provide support to your body. So, no matter if you are a child, adult, or elderly, taking care of your bone health should be a major concern and focus.
Having a balanced nutrition plan is one of the most critical factors that affect bone health. Make sure to consume all the necessary nutrients needed to promote strong and healthy bones. Also, you can consult a health professional for proper guidance if you are worried about your bone health or have recently broken a bone.