As you age, your bone density reduces and the bones become weaker as the rate of bone resorption starts to exceed new bone formation. In men, a drop in testosterone causes bone loss whereas, in women, lowered estrogen levels lead to bone loss.
Calcium is an important mineral for bone health. Incorporating calcium into your diet will ensure that the strength of your bones is maintained. Natural sources of calcium include dairy, kale, broccoli, almonds, cauliflower, sardines, and sweet potatoes. Taking care of your bones at an early age can help you avoid bone-related problems in the future. Here are 5 tips to take care of your bones.
1. Decrease Your Sugar Intake
Depriving yourself of sweet treats is difficult. However, to keep your bones healthy, you have to reduce your sugar intake.
Sugar depletes major nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and copper from your body. It increases the excretion of these important minerals through urine.1 Also, excess sugar intake is associated with increased cortisol levels in the body, thereby increasing the risk of osteoporosis.2
2. Meet The Daily Requirement Of Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency can make your bones weak and put you at the risk of fractures or osteoporosis. Vitamin D helps to absorb calcium effectively, in turn, making the bones strong and healthy.3
On a sunny day, expose your face and hands to the sun without any sunscreen on. Ensure that you spend at least 20–30 minutes in the sun every day. However, the skin’s sensitivity differs from person to person, putting you at the risk of overexposure. If your skin is sensitive, avoid spending too much time in the sun.
3. Quit Smoking
Smoking does more harm than good to your body. In addition to affecting your lungs, it also affects the strength of your bones. It reduces the bone mineral density by lowering the estrogen levels in the body that are essential for the absorption of calcium and other minerals.4
Smoking should be completely avoided by women approaching menopause as the estrogen levels are already low in this phase. A further reduction in estrogen means rapid bone loss. Furthermore, it also increases the levels of the hormone cortisol in the body, making the bones weaker.
4. Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Excess alcohol consumption interferes with the production of vitamin D. This, in turn, affects calcium absorption. Long-term alcohol consumption can affect bone growth, decrease bone density, and increase the risk of fracture.5
Like smoking, alcohol can also elevate cortisol levels and affect bone formation. Excess alcohol consumption has a direct correlation to increased risk of fracture.
5. Do Weight-Bearing Exercises
Weight-bearing exercises include weight training, walking, jogging, climbing stairs, tennis, and dancing, all movements that force you to work against gravity. Exercising increases your bone density and strength, in addition to improving balance and muscle strength. When your bones are stronger, there are fewer chances of you suffering from a fracture when you fall.6
Exercising for 30 minutes every day is also good for your overall health and well-being. If you are suffering from osteoporosis or have low bone density, it is wise to consult your doctor before you try any of these exercises.
|↑1||Nguyen, N. U., G. Dumoulin, M-T. Henriet, and J. Regnard. “Effects of iv insulin bolus on urinary calcium and oxalate excretion in healthy subjects.” Hormone and metabolic research 30, no. 04 (1998): 222-226.|
|↑2||Burckhardt, P. “Corticosteroids and bone: a review.” Hormone Research in Paediatrics 20, no. 1 (1984): 59-64.|
|↑3||Holick, Michael F. “Vitamin D and bone health.” The Journal of nutrition 126, no. 4S (1996): 1159S.|
|↑4||Wong, Peter KK, Jemma J. Christie, and John D. Wark. “The effects of smoking on bone health.” Clinical Science 113, no. 5 (2007): 233-241.|
|↑5||What People Recovering from Alcoholism Need to Know About Osteoporosis. NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases.|
|↑6||Exercise for Your Bone Health. NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases.|