What are bones?
They are a living and constantly growing tissue. Bones are made up of mainly two things:
Collagen – A protein that provides a soft framework.
Calcium – A mineral that provides strength and hardness.
The two combined makes bone structure strong and flexible enough to hold up under pressure. Our bones have plenty of roles in the body – it provides structure, protects our soft organs, anchors muscles, and stores calcium. It is important to build strong bones during your childhood and pre-teen years, however, you can still take the necessary steps during adulthood to strengthen and maintain healthy bones as well.
Mayo Clinic talks about how bone health is important.
Bones are constantly changing, new bones are created and old bones are worn out. The younger you are, the faster your body makes new bones, and the faster your bone mass increases. Generally, people tend to reach the highest point of their bone mass around age 30. Moving forward, bone remodelling will resume, however, you start to lose a little more bone mass than you gain.
If you do not create enough bone mass, you might develop osteoporosis. It is a disease that causes weak and brittle bones. Hence, the more bone mass you create, the more healthier bones you have “saved up” in your body, and you’ll have a lesser chance of developing osteoporosis as you get older.
What Are Some of the Main Factors Affecting My Bone Health?
1. Lack of Calcium
Having a diet that’s low in calcium definitely contributes to a decrease in bone mass, early stages of bone loss and a higher risk of injury, such as fractures.
2. Lack of Exercise
People who do not exercise regularly or are physically inactive have an increased risk of osteoporosis than people who do.
3. Use of Tobacco and Alcohol
Research has shown that people who often smoke and drink regularly are at a greater risk of having weak bones.
Women tend to have lesser bone tissue than men, which contributes to a higher risk of osteoporosis.
To no surprise, as people age, their bones become thinner and weaker.
How Can I Keep My Bones Happy and Healthy?
Start out slow with some weight-bearing exercises such as, walking, jogging and climbing the stairs. These can help to build strong bones and prevent osteoporosis.
2. Eat Your Vegetables
Franziska Spritzler RD, CDE, a certified Diabetes Educator talks about how vegetables are a great source of vitamin C and how they are amazing for your bones. Vitamin C fuels the production of bone-forming cells. Studies have also shown that vitamin C has bone cell-protecting properties. Vegetables also help to increase bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
3. Have Vitamin D in Your Diet
Vitamin D helps your body to absorb calcium. Calcium is important in increasing bone density for stronger bones.
Foods containing vitamin D:
- Oily fish (Salmon, tuna, trout)
- Eggs (The yolk)
The body will also produce vitamin D when it’s under sunlight. If you’re worried about not having enough vitamin D in your diet, you can opt for supplements recommended by your doctor.
4. Have More Calcium in Your Diet
Again, Calcium helps give your bones strength and hardness.
Foods containing calcium:
- Soy products (Tofu, soya bean drinks,)
- Dairy products (Milk, Yogurt, Cheese, Kefir)
Having healthy bones are important in every stage of our lives. But it is something that people might take for granted due to the fact that symptoms often never appear till bone loss develops.
Thank goodness there are tons of ways to help you build and maintain healthy strong bones. The best part about it is – it’s never too early or too late to start.