When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, building bone strength is crucial. As we grow from toddlers into adolescents and then into our early adult years, our bones are continually building thanks to the minerals from what we eat and drink.
However, by the time we reach the age of 30, our bones will have reached their peak mass. If we have not created enough mass by this point, then there is an increased risk of developing more fragile bones. This then leads to a higher likelihood of your bones breaking easily.
While our bones might reach their density mass by the time we are 30, it is possible to keep them healthy as we age. Ensuring you are eating the right foods and changing your lifestyle can help you to improve the strength and health of your bones. We have taken a closer look at some of the top tips to keep your bones healthy.
1. Eat plenty of vegetables
Vegetables are an essential part of any healthy diet, but they are also a great way to keep your bones healthy. Ensuring you are incorporating vegetables into your diet is a fantastic source of Vitamin C, which can help you to protect your bones from damage.
When it comes to tips to keep your bones healthy, vegetables are also known to help increase the density of your bones. Eating plenty of them as you grow up can increase the strength and durability of your bones, reducing the risk of developing osteopenia and osteoporosis.
While eating vegetables is very beneficial for everyone, it is particularly great for women over 50. Research has shown that those women who incorporated more onions into their diet had a 20% lower risk of osteoporosis. Equally, women who regularly ate broccoli, parsley, and cabbage had a far lower rate of bone turnover.
2. Boost your protein intake
Alongside eating plenty of vegetables, you should also focus on ensuring you are consuming plenty of protein. Our bones are almost 50% protein, and a low consumption rate has been shown to decrease the amount of calcium our bodies absorb.
While there is some research that shows consuming too much can actually reduce the levels of calcium in the bone. However, additional studies have shown that eating 100g a day can be very beneficial and will result in higher bone density.
3. Focus on strength training
Another top tip to keep your bones healthy is to ensure that you exercise regularly and focus on building your strength. This is a great way to increase the health of your bones, and exercises that are weight-bearing and high-impact help to promote the formation of new bone, particularly in young children.
While these exercises can help boost the strength of bones in children, they are also a great way to help prevent bone loss as we age. Research has shown that weight-bearing exercises can also help to increase the mineral density, strength, and size of your bones.
Alongside helping to improve the strength and density of your bones, incorporating strength-training exercises can also reduce bone loss.
4. Consume plenty of calcium
Everyone knows that calcium is great for the bones, so you should ensure that your diet is packed with food and drinks that are high in calcium. The cells in our bones are continuously being broken down and replaced, and calcium helps to protect the structure and strength of our bones.
It is recommended that adults should consume 1 gram of calcium a day, while children and teenagers should aim for 1.2 grams. If you are looking to boost your calcium intake, then there are plenty of foods and drinks that you can incorporate, including:
- Fortified Cereals
- Enriched bread and grains
- Beans and lentils
5. Maximize your Vitamin D and K intake
Another top tip to keep your bones healthy is to ensure that you are consuming plenty of Vitamin D and K. These are two vital vitamins for building strong bones, helping to increase how much calcium our body absorbs and protecting against conditions such as osteoporosis and osteopenia.
Research has shown that low Vitamin D levels often result in lower bone density and a higher risk of bone loss. Our bodies can absorb Vitamin D through sunlight as well as foods such as fatty fish, cheese, and liver. While Vitamin K can come from foods such as kale, spinach, collard greens, pork chops, chicken, and avocados.
6. Avoid low-calorie diets
While a healthy lifestyle does involve ensuring you are not consuming too many calories, a top tip to keep your bones healthy is to avoid a very low-calorie diet. Research has shown that diets under 1,000 calories a day can result in lower bone density, particularly in the hips and thighs.
In order to build strong and healthy bones, you should try to consume at least 1,200 calories a day. This should be a diet that consists of a variety of proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
Rather than continuing a yo-yo routine of dieting, you should focus on maintaining a stable and healthy weight. This will help to increase the strength and density of your bones, and research has shown that continued cycles of weight loss and gain can result in weaker bones.
7. Eat foods high in zinc and magnesium
Another top tip to keep your bones healthy is to ensure your diet is high in zinc and magnesium. These two minerals are essential in improving the strength and density of your bones, alongside helping to boost how much calcium our body absorbs.
Research has shown that women who consumed 400mg of magnesium a day had a 3% increase in bone density. Equally, zinc can help to encourage those cells responsible for the building of our bones, alongside reducing the impact of bone breakdown.
8. Consume Omega-3 fats
Another great addition to your diet in order to keep your bones healthy is to ensure you incorporate plenty of foods that are high in Omega-3 fats. This includes foods such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, and walnuts.
Omega-3 has been shown to help protect against bone loss and increase the overall density of your bones.
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