Bones are the foundation of the human body, providing a structure, shielding organs, securing muscles and accumulating calcium. While we often tend to not realize the importance of the bones, but they are the most vital that enable human functioning. While bones are forming and changing continuously, a new bone is made after an old bone is broken and until the age of 30, new bones are formed faster which leads to a higher bone mass. However, as you age further, the bone mass does not increase at the same speed. In fact, with increasing age the body loses more bone mass than it builds.
With increasing age, due to this continuous loss of bone mass, a person might develop a condition known as osteoporosis which eventually makes the bones weak and brittle with time. The condition might not affect everyone but there are high chances of its occurrence. Hence, it is important to improve bone health while you are young, as well as protect your bones with increasing age. Some of the ways to avoid orthopedic and protect your bones are:
Include calcium in your diet: Calcium is a very important source of bone formation and maintenance of bone health. It is the main storage for calcium in the body and since the body does not produce any calcium on its own, the bones need to rely on the calcium that is gained through the food you eat and the supplements you take. In an average adult, the requirement of daily calcium is approximately 1,000 milligrams (mg), while for women after 50 years of age and for men post 70 years of age, the requirement of calcium is more than 1200 milligrams (mg) per day. Including calcium in your diet, this becomes very essential to protect the bones. Calcium-rich foods that one can include in the diet are – dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.), almonds, broccoli, kale, beans, lentils, canned salmon, whey protein, chia seeds, celery, sesame seeds, spinach, tofu, figs, and others. You should also take some calcium supplements after consultation with your doctor.
Increase Vitamin D intake: While calcium may be the source of bone formation and strength, Vitamin D is the enabler of calcium absorption. Vitamin D enables the body to absorb calcium which would otherwise be flushed out. A balanced ratio of Vitamin D and calcium is necessary to build strong bones. Moreover, Vitamin D also helps to protect from bone diseases such as rickets. For men and women between ages 1 to 70, the needed amount of vitamin D a day is 600 international units, while for women over 70 years of age, the recommended intake of vitamin D should not be less than 800 international units.
Indulge in more physical activity: Physical activity is essential for maintaining overall health and especially protecting bones. Physical activities that include weight-bearing help in the formation of bone tissues, which makes the bones stronger and healthier. Bones and muscles increase their strength when they push and tug against bones during activity. Bones are living tissue and when forces are placed on it, it intensifies its forms and forces by building more cells and becoming denser. Some of the physical activities you can indulge in include jogging, walking, climbing stairs, stretching, etc. An average person between the ages of 15 years and above should ideally engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day to improve bone health and protect the loss of bone mass.
Limit alcohol intake: Alcohol affects bone health negatively and hence should be avoided or taken in a limit. Alcohol interrupts the level of calcium in the body which is an essential nutrient for bone health. Moreover, it also interferes with the production of vitamin D in the body which is another major nutrient to protect bone health. Further, alcohol creates an imbalance in the hormone levels for men and women; in men, it leads to less production of testosterone – cells that stimulate bone formation, while in women alcohol causes can trigger irregular menstrual cycles which reduces estrogen levels. Alcohol also elevated levels of cortisol which is responsible for increasing bone breakdown and decreasing bone formation. For women, one drink per day and for men two drinks per day should not be exceeded.
Quit Smoking: Among the numerous harmful impacts of smoking on the human body, one is also bone health. The nicotine in cigarettes slows the formation of bone-producing cells, decreases the body’s capacity for calcium absorption, and also reduces the blood supply to the bones which in turn damages the tissues. Hence, it is important to quit smoking if bone health needs to be maintained.
It is vital to understand that bone health will also be impacted due to risk factors such as age, gender, race, family history, hormone levels, eating disorders, and certain medications. Hence, it is recommended to consult your doctor regarding the best measures to protect bone health. However, these few methods work very effectively to protect and enhance bone strength.