Bones are the support structures of our body. They also protect our organs, anchor muscles and store calcium for our body’s requirements.
The bones in your body are continuously changing. New ones are developed while the old bones break down. When you are young, the rate at which new bones are made is higher than the rate of break down of old bones, and bone mass increases. Most people will have their peak bone mass at age 30, after which the process will continue but bone density will diminish as you age.
You have great control over some factors affecting your bone health but have little or no control over the other factors.
Factors Affecting Bone Health
- The amount of calcium in diet. Low calcium diet can contribute to lower bone density, early bone loss and risk of fractures, consequently.
- Gender, age and size. Women have higher risk of osteoporosis because the have less bone tissues compared to men. Extremely thin (having a body mass index of 19 or less) or small people are at risk because their body will have less bone mass to draw from as they age.
- Race and genetics. Whites and those of Asian descent as well as those whose parents or siblings have osteoporosis are more likely to have that condition.
- Physical activity. The more physically active you are, the lesser the chances of having osteoporosis compared to the physically inactive.
- Hormone levels. Very high thyroid hormone, decreasing estrogen level (in women at menopause) and low testosterone in men increase the risk of osteoporosis.
- Smoking and drinking. Tobacco and alcohol contribute to weak bones possibly due to their interference with the body’s ability to absorb calcium.
- Eating disorders. People with anorexia or bulimia are at risk of bone loss.
You can initiate actions now to prevent osteoporosis and improve overall bone health.
How to Keep the Bones Healthy
- Take plenty of calcium in your diet. Calcium is essential for the proper development of bones and teeth. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for calcium is 1,000 mg for adults ages 19 to 50 and men ages 51 to 70, and 1.200 mg for women after age 50 and for men after age 70. Dairy products, broccoli, almonds, canned salmons, sardines and soy products are good sources of Calcium.
- Increase Vitamin D consumption. Vitamin D and calcium work together to help the body absorb the bone-boosting nutrient. Shrimps,cereals, orange juice, sardines, eggs and tuna are good sources of Vitamin D. Exposure to sunlight for 10 to 15 minutes three times a week is also a source of Vitamin D for the body.
- Take potassium. Potassium tends to neutralize acids that remove calcium from the body. Foods like potatoes, yogurt and bananas are potassium-rich.
- Take Vitamin K. Aside from helping out with blood clotting, Vitamin K helps in making proteins for healthy bones.
- Do regular physical exercise. Weight-bearing exercises like walking, jogging, running, and jumping rope have positive effect on bone density and keep bones strongest. Minimize caffeine. Caffeine interferes with the body’s calcium-absorbing ability.
- Drink moderately. Heavy alcohol consumption can lead to bone loss. It interferes with the proper function of Vitamin D in the body.
- Stop smoking. Studies show that smoking prevents the body from absorbing calcium, and decreasing bone mass, as a result.
- Engage in chiropractic care. Getting regular chiropractic sessions will not only strengthen the bones, but keep the whole body healthy, as well. It reinforces the muscles, encourages good posture, keeps the body aligned, and promotes overall wellness.
It is imperative that we keep our bones healthy and strong to let us keep up with the physical challenges of our daily grind and add years to our active lifestyle.