Bones form the basic structure for humans. It is these hard structures that protect and guard the internal fragile organs from any damage. The lifestyles and diets of today have led to an unprecedented increase in the thinning of these essential structures and hence have been inviting problems like osteopenia and osteoporosis in large demographics. It is extremely essential to take care of our bones, which is why, a simple list of tips and tricks to help you keep your bones healthy has been prepared below.
Tips for Building Strong Bones
An Early Start: It is essential that you realize the importance of the maintaining and keeping your bones healthy at an early age, so as to avoid any severe damage in the future. It is not throughout life that your bones keep getting stronger and can be worked upon; therefore you should understand that your bones require your attention from an early age. It is in the 20s that the bones peak their density, after which they require constant monitoring and maintenance. So the first tip for building strong bones would be to make sure to comply with a balanced diet and the workout needs of your body after this age.
Knowledge of the T-Score: Bone mineral density is the criteria, which helps you evaluate the condition of the bones in terms of their strength and thickness. It is best to be informed about any damage happening to the bones at the earliest of the stages, which is why a bone density check should be done at regular intervals of time after the age of 30. The result of the bone mineral density check is given out in the form of a T-score. This score helps you understand the strength of the bones and determine your risk of any fracture of the bones.
Diet: Nothing beats taking care of the diet when it comes to the bones. It is the nutrition that you supply your bones with that forms the basis of the structure of the bones. For bones, the essential nutrients are calcium for the structure of the bones and vitamin D for the absorption of the calcium in the body. These nutrients should be included in the diet in the required amounts. For calcium, the main sources are milk and other dairy products like butter, cheese, cream and curd and green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and chard. A minimum of 1000 mg of calcium per day should be maintained in the diet. The sources of vitamin D are basically the supplements of the already fortified juices and milks and the sunlight of course. A minimum of 400-800 IU of vitamin D should be consumed in a day to make for healthy absorption of calcium and building strong bones.
Exercise: The foundation of healthy bones is exercise. Without exercise, bones are sure to lose their density and start thinning. With each of the flexing of the muscles, the tendons that are attached to the bone, tug on the bone stimulating bones to grow. Any form of exercise is good for the bones, but the best results come out of practicing the weight bearing exercises like jumping, hopping, running, jogging, walking and dancing and balancing techniques like Tai Chi and yoga. Strength training is also a good option for a workout towards building strong bones.
Quit Smoking: Smoking has many harmful effects on the body and though most of these are concentrated around the respiratory system, yet it is extremely bad for the bones too. Smoking increases the rate of bone loss and aggravates the thinning of bones. Women who smoke usually have lower levels of estrogen, which are further decreased when they go through menopause and such low levels of estrogen increase the bone loss. Hence for building and maintaining strong and healthy bones, quit smoking.
Limit Alcohol Consumption: Alcohol is again one of the major components of the diet, which causes harm to the bones if taken in excess. At most a single drink for women and two drinks a day for men should be allowed, after which this same compound can cause bone loss. Alcohol has the capacity to interfere with the absorption of calcium by the body, which hampers bone formation in the body. Binge drinking should be avoided at best to take a healthy care of the bones. Other than alcohol, other aerated beverages and caffeine based drinks should also be avoided since they also hamper bone stimulation and growth.
Limit the Meat: When it comes to healthy bones, it is extremely essential that meat only be consumed in moderation. Since the food item requires calcium and phosphorus to be digested through the system, an excessive consumption of meat can cause calcium from the bones to be lost during digestion. Pork, red meat, fish and poultry all of these fall under this category and should be taken in small amounts for strong bones.
Decrease the Sodium: Another food item that is not healthy for bones is sodium. An excess of sodium causes the calcium from the bones to leach out, and this calcium is then passed out from the body in the form of urine. A low sodium diet or a diet low in salt is a beneficial tip for building strong bones and should be preferred when trying to keep the bones healthy and strong. Processed foods are also a very rich source of sodium and should be limited in the diet too.
Stay Active: Finally the point that needs most emphasis from your end is staying active through your daily life. Simply by putting your muscles and bones into a continuous practice of staying active, you can make both your bones and yourself stronger and healthy.
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