Our bone health is directly linked to the overall health of our body as bones are the storehouses of essential nutrients and minerals, important for the various systems of our body.
Maintaining good health of your bones is essential as bones play a vital role in preventing various bone diseases, provides a frame to your body and protects various organs. Gone are the days when thinning of bones used to occur only after a certain age. Now you can have a hunched look even in your 20’s if you have weak bones – and you can blame modern sedentary lifestyles for it. Whatever your age might be, follow these simple bone health tips by Dr. Tina Mahendrakar – Physiotherapist, Mumbai, to maintain strong and healthy bones…
Bone health tip # 1: Know your bone health
Dr. Tina says, “In order to know the health and strength of your bones, see your physician. Your doctor may advise you to undergo certain tests like fracture risk assessment tool (FRAX) and bone-density test also known as DEXA. These tests will help you calculate your risk to various bone health diseases and the strength of your bones by assessing your lifestyle factors and past history.”
Bone health tip # 2: Add sunshine in your life
In order to absorb calcium by your bones, your body needs sufficient amounts of vitamin D. Dr. Tina says, “An average adult needs approximately 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily. To get sufficient amount of vitamin D to maintain the health of your bones, expose yourself to the morning rays of sun. Do not overdo the exposure to the sunshine as it can also put you at skin cancer risk. If you are unable to get sufficient amount of sun, then speak to your doctor to prescribe some vitamin D supplement to ensure your daily needs.”
Bone health tip # 3: Eat calcium-rich foods
Calcium is the most important nutrient to ensure good health for your bones. Hence, boost calcium intake in your diet by including dairy products, bone fishes, broccoli, tofu, soy milk and cereals as they are excellent sources of calcium. Dr. Tina says, “Even though calcium is good for your bones, never overdo its consumption as it can lead to other health complications. The key is moderation for good health.”
Bone health tip # 4: Add nuts in your diet
Nuts are another good food to deliver calcium for strong bones. Nuts like almonds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds are a great source of calcium and other minerals. Hence, consume a handful of nuts in your diet to keep your bones strong and healthy.
Bone health tip # 5: Exercising is crucial
Besides, eating calcium rich diet, sufficient amount of physical activity is also needed to keep your bones moving swiftly. Include simple exercises like brisk-walking, football, basketball, cycling and swimming to keep your bones strong and mobile. Besides, improving mobility, exercise also helps to increase muscle strength, coordination and balance.
Bone health tip # 6: Protein is important as well
Include high-protein foods like eggs, salmon, lean meats, soy, beans and legumes in your diet. Protein helps in increasing bone mineral content, reduces the risk of fractures, constructs and preserves muscles, protects bones and joints and stimulates bone strength. Hence, include protein in your diet to ensure good health for your bones.
Bone health tip # 7: Practice abdominal exercises
An erect spine is essential for a good frame for the body. Hence practice various abdominal exercises that focus on core strengthening and lengthening. All such exercises will help to strengthen the muscles of the spine, which will provide more support, improve balance and prevent falls.
Bone health tip # 8: Quit smoking
If you smoke then quit smoking at this instant itself. Smoking is harmful as it puts you at an endless risk of health problems including osteoporosis, as smoking even one cigarette hampers the proper functioning of the bone-building cells.
Bone health tip # 9: Vegetables all the way!
Include lots and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, as they are rich in magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K and vitamin B. All these essential nutrients help in ensuring the overall skeletal health by strengthening your bones and regenerating and regulating enzymes and various bone-building cells.
Bone health tip # 10: Shrink your drinking glass
If you are used to drinking several glasses of alcohol, then reduce it for maintaining the health of your bones. Drinking more than 1-2 units of alcohol can result in loss of bone density by diminishing its mineral content and can put you at a risk of hip fracture and osteoporosis.
Bone health tip # 11: Avoid aerated drinks
Various aerated soft drinks and other sugar drinks have serious detrimental effects on bone health. Regular consumption of carbonated drinks weakens bone growth and natural strength, decreases bone mineral content, causes weight gain, decreases lean muscle mass and triggers loss of calcium and iron. Hence, ditch those aerated drinks and switch to natural unsweetened juices or plain old water and tea or coffee.
Bone health tip # 12: Watch your weight
Your main focus for ensuring good bone health is by achieving a healthy weight. Regularly calculate your Body Mass Index by using a BMI to achieve a healthy weight. Dr. Tina says, “Weight plays a vital role in bone health, so being too thin or overweight can put you at several bone health problems.”
Bone health tip # 13: Prevent falls
One of the biggest causes of fracture is fall. Prevent falls if you want to prevent fracture and other bone damages. You can prevent falls by adopting simple steps like investing in good grips shoes, avoiding slippery soles, watch while you walk to avoid tripling, walk in a well lit road or use a torch in dark areas and improve your balance.
Bone health tip # 14: Genes matter a lot
Genetic pre-disposition plays a huge role in assessing your risk to various bone health problems. If you have a family history of osteoporosis, weak bone and fractures then you may need help from your doctor and take steps to prevent it.
Bone health tip # 15: Reduce your salt intake
Too much of salt intake can lead to calcium loss which will further cause bone density loss. Dr. Tina, advises all individuals to limit their salt intake to not more than 1,300 mg per day.
Bone health tip # 16: Caffeine can be bad as well
“Consumption of more than 300mg caffeine per day can accelerate bone loss,” says Dr. Tina. Hence, reduce your caffeine consumption or kill the negative aspect by adding sufficient amount of milk to your drink.
Bone health tip # 17: Obtain sufficient vitamin K
Vitamin K is essential for proper calcium regulation, and bone formation. It increases bone mineral density, prevents fractures and works with vitamin D to promote good bone health. Hence, include vitamin k rich foods like dark green leafy vegetables and lettuces at least 1-3 times per week to reduce the risk of fracture.
Bone health tip # 18: Change your diet
“If you are a person who is more dependent on outside food or other junk food then change your diet right away,” says Dr. Tina. Pack your own lunch so that you are getting sufficient amount of nutrients. Skip junk food as far as possible as it only leads to weight gain and bone related problems. Include a well balanced diet to get all the possible nutrients.
Bone health tip # 19: Skip an automated life
The more you work and do things by yourself, the better it is for you as well as for your bones. Skip your vehicle for short distances, do daily chores yourself or avoid elevators and walk instead. These small changes in your life will help you cut down the risk of various bone problems caused due to a desk job.
Bone health tip # 20: Talk to your doctor
If you have a history of bone related health problems or other health problems which cause bone loss, then talk to your doctor and he will aid in preventing further bone loss by prescribing certain medications. Be alert, if you notice any complication and health problem then talk to your doctor quickly.