As we age, our bones become weaker and more brittle, making it easier for us to get injured from falls. Osteoporosis is one of the most common diseases that affect the bones, making them extremely weak. Fortunately, there are several ways to strengthen bones to prevent them from weakening and thinning, and these things can also be helpful for reversing bone damage.
How to Strengthen Your Bones
The way we eat plays a huge role in our health as a whole. Vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients provide a number of total body health benefits, but many people don’t always get an adequate amount of these nutrients. Nutrients to be aware of for bone health include:
- Vitamin C stimulates the production of bone cells and its antioxidant effects can provide protection against bone damage. Look for citrus fruits and vegetables, such as onions, broccoli, and cabbage for high doses of vitamin C.
- Protein makes up about 50% of our bone structure and it also helps our bodies to absorb calcium, another nutrient essential to bone health. Protein can be found in meats, nuts, eggs, and beans.
- Vitamin D also helps the body to absorb calcium. Fortunately, many of the same foods are high in both calcium and vitamin D, such as dairy products. Also, keep in mind that food sources of calcium are better than supplements, as too much calcium from supplements can cause heart problems.
- Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in our bodies, and it’s known for strengthening joints. It also contains several amino acids, so there’s a high possibility that it’s beneficial for bone health. Collagen supplements are also safe to take.
- Tea (herbal tea, that is) may also contain minerals that help improve bone strength. There are also several other health benefits of tea.
Another thing to keep in mind with nutrition is that you don’t want to eat less than 1,000 calories per day, as this can slow down the metabolism and cause loss of muscle mass. This loss can decrease bone density.
Exercise is another thing that seems to have positive results when it comes to combating certain illnesses, and weak bones are no different. When it comes to strengthening the bones specifically, weight-bearing exercises tend to be the most beneficial. This may seem like it will do the opposite and put more strain on your bones, but it actually encourages new bone minerals to form.
Going along with exercising and eating healthy, a well-maintained body weight is also essential in keeping your bones healthy. Not only is it healthy to not be overweight, but it’s not healthy to be underweight either, especially when it comes to bone health. Low body weight can contribute to decreased bone density in women who have gone through menopause.
Consequences of Weak Bones
As mentioned before, weaker bones are more likely to fracture and break. We reach our peak bone density at around 25-30 years of age, and after that our bones start to become less dense. An unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, smoking, and other poor lifestyle habits can accelerate this process. The wrists, hips, and spine are the bones that are most susceptible to fractures, and half of the women over the age of 50 (and one in eight men) are estimated to get a fracture related to osteoporosis.
Another concern is elder falls. One in three elderly individuals is likely to have a fall in their lifetime, and the results of falls are far worse when the individual has weaker bones. Falls can occur anywhere: in the home, shopping centers, at a park, and even in nursing homes. Infact, nursing home falls are unfortunately a common injury, and facilities need to be held accountable for it.
Osteoporosis and other diseases affecting the bones doesn’t have to be a major issue. The key is to live a healthy and active lifestyle, avoiding or limiting unhealthy habits such as smoking, excessive drinking, and eating processed foods.