It’s always a nice feeling to get a good report from the dentist. Healthy teeth are part of good bone health, but what about the bones you can’t see?
Bone health is incredibly important. These hard, spongy tissues help hold your body together, making things like dancing, stretching, and even walking possible.
And as you age, it’s more important than ever to find ways to keep your bones healthy and strong. In this article, we’re showing you seven ways you can support your bones, so they can continue supporting you.
How Bones Change As You Age
It might seem like your body will always be there for you, but think of your body like a long-term investment account. What you put into is what you get out.
That’s why it’s crucial to continue giving your body what it needs so it can continue working properly. Throughout childhood and adolescence, your body produces the bone cells needed to support your growing body. And once you turn 30, your bones have reached their peak mass. This means that typically, they are as dense as they’re going to get.
As you continue to age, your body starts to slow down the bone regeneration process. Minerals begin to leech out, causing weakness and a loss of density. As a result, you become more prone to experiencing bone conditions such as (1):
Knowing this, you can work with a doctor who understands these changes and can help you create a personalized plan that meets all your current and future needs.
Related article: Healthy Aging Month: 10 Tips on Aging Well in Today’s World (12)
In addition to working with a doctor, keep these 7 things in mind when prioritizing your bone health.
Target Your Nutritional Needs
Your body is made up of a unique combination of molecules and chemical compounds. From your head to your toes, it takes a lot of different nutrients to support normal biological processes.
Take a look at some of the key players in bone health and wellness:
- Calcium: This component leaves your bloodstream and fills in the gaps that the collagen web created for the inside of your bone tissue.
- Collagen: Works together with calcium to create a webbed structure that makes up the inside of your bones.
- Vitamin C: This famous antioxidant is responsible for stimulating collagen production all over your body, including your bones.
- Vitamin D: More of a hormone than a vitamin, it helps your body to absorb calcium and increase bone strength. Without it, you become at risk for developing conditions like rickets (2).
- Vitamin K: Not your average bone superhero, Vitamin K regulates bone reabsorption, along with genetic transcription and coagulation functions (3).
Most of these nutrients can be found in the food you eat. So what foods should you be focusing on? Whether you eat a wide variety or prefer to stick to certain kinds, bone-strengthening foods (4) include:
- Dark, leafy greens
- Organic dairy products
- Dried fruits
- Sesame seeds or tahini
Collagen supplements can also be a good choice. Some people prefer powdered bovine collagen, while others like liquid marine collagen.
Pack in the Protein
In addition to eating foods rich in calcium and Vitamin D, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough quality protein in your diet.
Adults over the age of 65 need between 68g – 82g of protein per day, depending on their weight (6). Protein-packed foods take on different forms and include:
- Hemp seeds
- Fatty fish
- Lean meats
Adopting a colorful diet of wholesome, functional foods will benefit your health in more ways than you can imagine.
Related article: Functional Nutrition: What Is It, and How Can It Improve Your Life? (11)
Help out Your Hormones
You might not think that hormones play a role in bone health, but they absolutely do. Estrogen is a hormone that helps direct how well your bones grow and mature. It also regulates what is called bone “turnover”, which simply means it helps eliminate old cells and establish new ones (7).
Both men and women have estrogen, but postmenopausal women often experience a drop in estrogen production, leaving their bones more vulnerable to weakness (16).
Talk with your doctor about ways to support your estrogen levels as you age.
Find Ways to Stay Fit
No matter your age, wanting to look your best is always somewhere on your priorities list. But many people feel overwhelmed because they believe they need to spend hours at the gym to see any real results.
The truth is, living an active lifestyle is often easier than you might think. Getting your heart rate up encourages blood circulation throughout the body, helping to nourish your tissues and eliminate toxins.
This blood flow is also important for building and maintaining healthy bone tissue. Some of the best exercises that keep your bones healthy at any age include (5):
- Climbing stairs
- Playing tennis
- Hiking trails
But you don’t have to have a gym membership to reap the benefits of these types of exercises. If you live in an apartment complex, there are plenty of stairs to climb. When you go to the grocery store, park a little further away to encourage you to walk more. Taking a short walk after a meal has also been shown to lower your blood sugar levels, an important part of preventing diabetic conditions (15).
Weight-bearing exercises are also an important element of fitness. Resistance training is designed to put force between you and an object, which can surprisingly trigger your body to create more bone tissue.
Studies have shown that men and women who regularly incorporate resistance training or weight-bearing exercises have increased bone densities, larger bone sizes, and increased bone strength (14).
It’s helpful to arm yourself with the knowledge you need of all the things you should be doing to keep your bones strong as you age. But what about the things you shouldn’t do?
Smoking not only damages your lungs and ages your skin, but it can also have a negative impact on your bones. Recent findings report that smoking tobacco can lead to an imbalance in bone turnover. This can lower your bone density, making it more porous and prone to fractures (8).
Keep Alcohol to a Minimum
Excessive alcohol consumption can also take a negative toll on bone health. Research finds that chronic alcohol use can disrupt your body’s ability to properly absorb calcium and Vitamin D, leading to a decrease in bone density and strength (9).
Maintain a Healthy Weight
While most people would like to achieve their weight-loss goals as quickly as possible, avoid yo-yo dieting. Extreme weight fluctuations not only increase your risk of developing heart disease, but they can also change how your body metabolizes calcium. This leads to bone loss and other complications (10).
Your bones are instrumental team players when it comes to enjoying a healthy life. These hard, spongy-looking structures help support your body as you work and play, and by taking care of them they can continue to age.
Eating wholesome foods will infuse calcium, vitamins, and other nutrients into your bone tissue. Weight-resistant exercises encourage new bone growth, and eliminating smoking and excessive alcohol can prevent bone loss and reduce your risks for injury.
Did you know it’s easier than ever to get the Vitamin D you need for strong bones, immune function, and elevated mood? See how others are easily improving their health with Pure D3 Plus (12)!
✝✝This noted statement is based on independent research and is not necessarily the opinion of the author