Our bones and joints make the basic support system of the body. They allow movement by anchoring all the muscles of the body. It is a major reservoir of crucial minerals that can be used by the body during stressful periods. So, it goes without saying that bone care is significant for the body. Sports medicine, now an emerging branch of medicine, deals with injuries in sports personalities and revolves around the care of the joints.
At the age of 30 years, the body attains its peak bone mass. Till this age, the bone formation exceeds the bone breakdown. Thereafter, the reverse remodeling of bones begins and the bone catabolism exceeds the anabolism. During periods of formation and breakdown, the bones are riddled with a number of diseases. During the younger ages bone tumors and rickets are common, while on the other hand after 30s, problems like osteoporosis, osteopetrosis and osteomalacia take precedence over other bone diseases. These ailing bones are frail and highly liable to fractures and damage.
13 ways to build healthy and strong bones:
- Boost your calcium consumption: Not just bone, this mineral is required for appropriate muscle functioning, nerve signaling, hormone secretion and maintaining blood pressure. Yogurt, cheese, dairy products and green vegetables are a major source of calcium. If your diet is insufficient to meet the calcium requirements, go in for calcium supplementation.
- Add in Vitamin D: Calcium cannot be absorbed and used effectively without this wonder vitamin. The two work as a team to help in bone mineralization. Shrimps, fortified foods, sardines and eggs are good sources of Vitamin D.Spend some time out basking in the sun. Sun exposure of only 10-15 minutes, especially in tropical countries boosts up the natural Vitamin D synthesis.
- Don’t forget Vitamin K: It assists the body to make new proteins for improving bone density. It has been shown to reduce calcium excretion from the body. A recent study shows that vitamin K can help astronauts regain the lost bone density faster than calcium or Vitamin D.
- Pump up your potassium levels: It has no direct effect on the bone density. But it does neutralize acids that have a negative effect of body’s calcium stores. Yogurt, avocadoes, fish and mushrooms, all provide sufficient potassium.
- Exercise your way to fitness: Exercising regularly keeps a good deal of diseases away. Bone fitness comes in with the package. Weight-bearing exercises like running, jogging and jumping are the best for bones. Add in a few resistance-training exercises like picking weights to have improved bone strength and better balance.
- Don’t go easy on Vitamins: Vitamin B12 is essential for the functioning of osteoblasts. These cells are responsible for new bone formation when the old bone is destroyed i.e. replenishment of bones. Enough vitamin B12 thus helps to keep the bones replenished and strong.On the other hand, vitamin E can decrease the bone mass and reduce new bone formation.
- Caffeine and its harms: Too much caffeine in the system interferes with calcium absorption and accelerates bone loss by interacting negatively with Vitamin D. So, if you are a java lover, make sure to increase your calcium intake relatively.
- Cool it on the booze and soda: While moderate quantities of alcohol consumption can slow bone loss, high quantities can hasten the same process. Similarly, cola consumption has been found to be associated with lower bone density.
- Quit smoking: You can definitely add better bone health to your list of reasons to lose the cigarettes. It can prevent effective calcium absorption from the diet.
- Avoid highly processed foods: Processing strips away the nutritional value of food materials, making them devoid of minerals and vitamins.
- Review your medications: Some medicines like corticosteroids, drugs used in neoadjuvant chemotherapy for treating cancers and anti-epileptic drugs like phenytoin have been shown to have damaging effects on the bone. Moreover, try treatments specifically aimed at treating frail bones like bisphosphonates.
- Know your family history: People with a positive family history of osteoporosis are more likely to develop the disease at earlier stages of life.
- Check your Hormones: Too much of thyroid can lead to rapid bone dissolution and loss. Low estrogen levels in women post menopause, can significantly increase the risk of osteoporosis.
Supplementing the bones through a healthy diet and adequate exercise is crucial to acquire bone strength during the earlier years of life and maintaining the healthy state of bones in adulthood. Despite that, bone health goes beyond nutrition and healthy diets. Make sure to follow these simple steps, so that your bones remain strong and healthy as you age. Develop a routine, start slowly and stay with it.