Bones do so much for our bodies - they provide structure, protect our organs, store calcium, and keep our muscles in place. Because of this, it is only right that we take care of them the best ways possible through proper diet and regular exercise. This is not only to keep our bones strong but also to keep the whole body healthy and fit.
Importance of Bone Health
Bones continually grow and change. When an old bone is broken down, a new bone is made. When you're still young, it's much easier for your new bones to grow and for the bone mass to increase. But when you reach the peak bone mass around the age of 30, you lose more than you gain. At this time, the risk for developing osteoporosis, a condition that results in weak and brittle bones, increases significantly. This is why, at a young age, you need to develop bone mass to lessen the risk of osteoporosis later in life.
Factors that Affect Bone Health
The foremost element that can affect your bone health is the amount of calcium that you have in your diet. The lower the amount of calcium you consume, the higher the risk of early bone loss, diminished bone density, and accidental bone fractures. Physical activity is another factor. Those who are active are less prone to osteoporosis than those who love to spend most of their days lying around. Unhealthy habits also play a role. Drinking alcohol and smoking can both contribute to weak bones. Alcohol, in particular, interferes with the body's ability to absorb calcium. Gender and age are other issues. Women, having less bone tissue, are especially prone to osteoporosis than men. As people get older, bones become thinner and weaker. Other factors that can affect bone health include race, frame size, family history, hormone levels, and other health conditions like Crohn's disease, celiac disease, anorexia, and bulimia.
Steps to Keep Bones Healthy
• Consume plenty of calcium. Adults ages 19 to 50 are advised to consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium every day. It increases to 1,200 milligrams a day for women ages 51 and above and men ages 71 and older. Calcium can be derived from dairy products like milk and cheese, and from dark leafy vegetables. Food supplements are also ideal since it is quite difficult to get sufficient calcium only from food.
• Get sufficient vitamin D. Aside from calcium, you also need to stock in lots of vitamin D in your body. Adults ages 19 to 70 are recommended to have 600 international units (IUs) of vitamin D every day. This increases to 800 IUs per day when adults reach the age of 71. Sunlight is the primary source of vitamin D along with dietary items like egg yolks, fortified milk, tuna, sardines, and vitamin D supplements.
• Have a healthy lifestyle. Be physically active to build strong bones and slow down bone loss. Stay away from unhealthy habits like drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and using prohibited drugs.
Bone health is a lot more important than we think. Make sure that you take on a healthy lifestyle that consists of a calcium and vitamin D rich diet and regular physical activity.