August 29, 2018 | Staff
It is easy to take our bones for granted. After all, they do all their work behind the scenes. But when a bone breaks, it's a big deal. Bones take time to heal and the process is typically quite painful. Fortunately, protecting your bone health is easier than you think. Diet, exercise and other lifestyle factors can affect your bone mass.
Bones play many roles in the body. They provide structure, protect your organs, anchor muscles and store calcium. While it is important to build strong and healthy bones during childhood and adolescence, you can take positive steps to protect bone health well into adulthood.
A balanced, healthy diet is important for weight, organ health, preventing diseases and infections, improving hair and skin condition AND it significantly improves bone health. You want to make sure that your diet is comprised of a variety of foods that provide you with an assortment of nutrients. In terms of bone health, the most important are calcium, as well as vitamins C, D and K.
Vitamin D is found in low-fat dairy products. Many of these calcium-rich foods are fortified with vitamin D.
Other foods rich in calcium include:
Other essential vitamins that protect your bones:
Calcium and vitamin D are the two most important ingredients for strong and healthy bones. And while first prize is to obtain all you need from a balanced and nutritious diet, this is not always possible and supplementation can help.
Too many Americans fall short of getting the amount of calcium they need every day and that can lead to bone loss, low bone density and even broken bones. Every day, we lose calcium through our skin, nails, hair, sweat, urine and feces. Our bodies cannot produce its own calcium. That is why it is important to get enough calcium from the food we eat. If your diet does not supply you with the daily average of 1,000 mg, then a supplement will make up the difference. Check with your doctor before starting supplements to find out what amount is right for you.
Vitamin D plays an important role in protecting your bones, both by helping your body absorb calcium and by supporting muscles needed to avoid falls. Children need vitamin D to build strong bones, and adults need it to keep their bones strong and healthy. You can get Vitamin from the sun or from food. Our skin makes vitamin D in reaction to sunlight and stores it in fat for later use. Supplements are great to make up for factors that affect Vitamin D absorption, such as time of day, season, latitude, skin pigmentation, age, etc.
Collagen is the main protein found in bones. It contains the amino acids glycine, proline and lysine, which help build bone, muscle, ligaments and other tissues. Collagen can be found in animal bones, commonly known as gelatin. It has been used to relieve joint pain for many years.
You want to boost your bone strength by adding exercises, such as weight training, that compress your bones.Strength-training exercise is not only beneficial for increasing muscle mass, it may also help protect against bone loss in younger and older women, including those with osteoporosis, osteopenia or breast cancer. Running, jogging, high-impact aerobics, repetitive stair climbing, dancing, tennis and basketball are best for building bones. But if you have osteopenia, osteoporosis or arthritis, try walking or using an elliptical or other machine.
Many studies have shown a direct relationship between smoking and decreased bone density. The longer you smoke and the more cigarettes you consume, the greater your risk of fracture in old age. In addition, smokers who fracture bones tend to heal much slower than nonsmokers and they may experience more complications during the healing process. If you smoke, look into a program to help you quit.
Waning estrogen levels in perimenopausal women have been linked to bone loss. Men and women who have been diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis can take various medications to prevent dangerous hip and spine fractures. Talk to your doctor about your treatment.
If you are concerned about your bone health or think you may be at risk for osteoporosis, call us to set up an appointment. Your orthopedic surgeon may recommend a bone density test. The results will help your doctor evaluate your bone density and determine your rate of bone loss to assess whether you might be a candidate for medication to help slow bone loss.
To learn more about bone health or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, call us at 800-698-1280.