Did you know that we are born with 300 bones in our body that fuse together to form 206 bones as we grow up? The hands and feet contain more than half of the bones in our entire body. Bones play the most important function in providing support and protection to our body. Providing a framework for the muscles, protecting the vital organs and, manufacturing blood are some of the basic functions of our bones. Without bones, we would just collapse like jelly. Be it walking, running, standing or sitting, we need bones to perform each and every day to day activity.
Bones are in a continuous process of breaking down and rebuilding in small amounts. Age plays a major role in deciding the pace of the bone-building process. When young, our body makes new bone faster than it breaks down the old one resulting in an increased bone mass. People usually gain peak bone mass before attaining the age of 30. But after the age of 30, the bone-building balance eventually shifts and more bone is lost than gained. The shift in the bone-building balance sets in osteoporosis which makes the bones weak and brittle. Postmenopausal women and men over the age of 60 are prone to this disease. However, with a change in lifestyle and healthy eating habits, one can speed up bone mass in young age and prevent one of the most common bone disease, Osteoporosis.
Here are the 6 ways to improve your Bone Health:
- Increase Calcium Consumption - Calcium is always synonymous with bone, it is the most essential mineral for the development of bones and teeth. Dairy products like yoghurt, cheese, milk, and other low-fat dairy foods in your diet boost calcium consumption. In addition to dairy products, fishes like salmon and sardine, spinach and collard greens are also a rich source of calcium.
- Set out in the Sun for Vitamin ‘D‘ - Our bodies need 1,000 to 2,000 IU of Vitamin D daily to help absorb calcium. Even the combined calcium-vitamin D pills usually don’t meet this requirement. The old fashioned way of absorbing vitamin D from sun ensures that the daily need is met. Don’t forget to put on a sunscreen lotion before going out in the sun.
- Boost up potassium in your diet- Potassium acts as our bone’s saviour, it neutralizes acids that remove calcium from the body. It not only improves bone health but also helps in coordinating nerves and muscles, and helps cells remove waste. Women who have a high intake of potassium has 8% higher bone density than the ones with low potassium intake. Eating foods like sweet potatoes, white potatoes, yoghurt and bananas pumps up the potassium level in our body.
- Never miss Exercise - Other than an apple, regular exercise is the best way to keep the health issues away. The modern lifestyle accompanied with its unhealthy habits is one of the major risk factor for osteoporosis. Engaging in exercises like jogging, brisk walking, and aerobics for at least 30 minutes every day keep bones strong. Also resistance training which includes lifting weights improves bone health. Examples of resistance training tools include free weights, wrist weights, weighted vests, exercise bands and resistance machines found at gyms.
- Know your family history - Having a parent or sibling with osteoporosis or a family history of fractures, increase the risk of contracting one. Thorough knowledge of family history gives the opportunity to take all possible preventions and cures for any related bone disease.
- Quit Smoking- It is no more a secret that smoking harms your body in all the ways possible. In case of bones, smoking prevents the body from efficiently absorbing calcium and thus decreases the bone mass. If you are a smoker, quit smoking right away to lead a healthy and safe life.