You may imagine that weak and thin bones (osteoporosis) are a problem that only the elderly need to worry about. Think again. You can do a lot of things NOW to avoid that problem later in life. Here are some of them.
Don’t forget about other minerals. While calcium makes up 70% of your bones, it’s not the only one you need. Your body also requires other minerals like magnesium, zinc, copper, and manganese. A healthy person will be able to balance these minerals in their bodies to improve bone density. Magnesium ensures that the scaffolding (matrix) of your bones is in order. Manganese, copper, and zinc help enzymes to proceed with proper bone growth and renewal. A mineral complex is a great way to keep your bones healthy.
Introducing vitamin K2. Are you familiar with vitamin K2? It’s not a vitamin we’ve made up. Vitamin K2 increases the calcium content of your bones by activating your bone cells to produce a certain protein. This protein is responsible for increasing the binding of calcium in the right places (your bones). Gouda (a type of cheese), Natto (Japanese fermented food), and dairy products from grass fed animals are good sources of vitamin K2. You can also get it in a supplement to ensure your calcium gets used for healthy bones, not calcifying your arteries.
Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin. The largest organ in your body, your skin, is able to make the active form of vitamin D from ultraviolet rays (UVB) so be sure to visit the great outdoors. Expose yourself to some sun. You can also include these vitamin D rich foods in your diet: Tuna, salmon, egg yolks, mackerel and milk. You need vitamin D to increase calcium absorption from your digestive system, so as you can see it’s also very important for keeping your bones healthy.
Limit caffeine (and all its masquerades). Attention ladies. A study found that caffeine in coffee, energy drinks, and colas decreased bone density in women. Though the exact cause as to why this happens primarily in women still remains elusive. One possible explanation is the negative effect of caffeine on the hormone oestrogen.
The balance between phosphoric acid and calcium. Your body’s level of these two minerals is tightly regulated by your kidneys. If you increase phosphate intake (through phosphoric acid in soft drinks), you increase calcium elimination through your kidneys. Phosphoric acid also makes your body more acidic which is damaging to your bones. Soft drinks are never good for your health even when the labels say they are fortified with vitamins…
Your bones hate alcohol and smoking. Alcohol leads to malnutrition, confuses our hormones (cortisol and oestrogen), and suppresses our bone building cells. We’re not just talking about chronic alcohol drinking, binge drinking also counts.
Stop smoking! Don’t you ever get tired of the preceding statement? You shouldn’t, and we’ll keep on reminding you. The bad effects of smoking on your bones is another reason why you should kick the habit. Smoking generates huge quantities of free radicals and toxins. These villains affect hormones, cells, tissues, and even whole organs which maintain the health of your bones. So please, stop smoking!
Consider resistance training exercises. Resistance training strengthens your muscles which provide support to your bones. The resistance also acts as a stimulus for the bone to strengthen itself. Weight bearing exercise is also a must for you. Examples of weight bearing exercises include running, walking, hill or stair climbing, and sports like golf and tennis. They provide additional stimuli to increase the density of your bones. Anything that gets you off that couch and moving around is a good stimulus for your bones.
Revive your bones with bone broth. Bone broth is an abundant source of minerals and collagen to support your bones and their friends (joints, ligaments, and muscles). We have an interesting article on bone broth that you can read here.
Slumber for stronger bones. Don’t EVER underestimate the power of sleep. It’s during sleep that growth hormone is secreted by your body. Growth hormone directly regulates bone mass.
Keep stress to a minimum. Emotional and mental stress can exhaust your adrenal glands and cause you to keep secreting cortisol. Cortisol has a detrimental effect on your bone building cells, paralysing them from increasing your bone mass. Try stress reducing methods and anti-anxiety herbs like passionflower and lavender to soothe and calm you.
Around 1 million Australians and approximately 80,000 New Zealanders suffer from the ill effects of weak and thin bones. Don’t be one of them. It’s happier (and safer) to try and keep your bones fit all throughout your life, and you won’t have to worry about fractures and falls. The tips listed here are simple and practical. It’s your (bone) loss if you don’t let them guide you to take good care of your bones.