Jan 01, 1970
Bones are rigid organs that play many roles in the human body. They store calcium, anchor the muscles, protect the internal organs, enable movement, produce red blood cells, and provide the body with its structure. Bones also store fat and minerals in the body, releasing them into the blood as and when required. An average adult has 206 bones in their body, but the bones and bone mass are constantly changing throughout one’s life.
The body constantly makes new bones and breaks down old bones. During the younger years, new bones are developed faster than the old ones breaking down, thereby slowly increasing a person’s bone mass. Generally, people reach their peak bone mass around the age of 30 years, after which the making and breaking of bones continue, but there is comparatively more bone loss than gain.
With increasing age, bone strength starts decreasing and if not taken care of, can lead to a number of bone diseases. One of the most common conditions that may develop in such cases, severely affecting the bone density, is osteoporosis, which causes the bones to become hollow and fragile. People with osteoporosis are more prone to fractures as they have weaker bones. The most commonly affected bones by this condition are the spine bones, wrist bones and hip bones. Common symptoms of osteoporosis include back pain, loss of height, stooped posture, etc.
There are a number of lifestyle changes and factors that can help maintain bone health and density. Here are some of the best bone health tips that you can follow:
Calcium is the building block for bones and is required by the body for the bone remodelling process or breaking down and building bones. In fact, calcium deficiency is one of the most common causes of osteoporosis. Including dairy products like milk, yoghurt, cheese, and other calcium-rich foods like tofu, fish, nuts, beans, etc. in the diet can go a long way in making the bones strong, reducing one’s chances of developing medical conditions like osteoporosis.
Vitamin D is converted into a chemical known as 25-hydroxyvitamin D by the liver, so it can be used by the body. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium for strong bones, making this one of the most important vitamins for the bones. People mostly get vitamin D for the bones from sunlight, with the body producing the vitamin when the skin comes in contact with UV rays of the sun. A vitamin-rich diet can include fortified dairy products, eggs, fatty fish, egg yolks, etc. It is also available in the form of Vitamin D3 or D2, which are dietary supplements for ensuring a proper intake of the nutrient. It is important to consult a doctor before starting the Vitamin D3 or D2 supplements.
Apart from a calcium- and vitamin-rich diet, ensuring ample physical activity is also important. Having a sedentary lifestyle can negatively impact bone health. For strong bones, it is important to include regular physical activities. Jogging, climbing stairs, bench steps, or other types of exercises can be added to the routine.
Protein makes for almost 50% of the composition of bones, so an adequate protein intake is also important for reducing bone loss. Low protein intake on the other hand can also reduce the effective absorption of calcium by the body, affecting the rates of formation and breaking down of the bones.
Not meeting daily calorie requirements is never a good thing, and can lead to a number of health issues, including poor bone health and symptoms of osteoporosis. Consuming fewer calories can also slow down the metabolism, leading to muscle mass loss and rebound hunger. A well-balanced diet is essential for strong bones.
There are a number of lifestyle habits that negatively impact bone health, like alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, etc. For healthy bones, it is recommended to quit smoking and limit the consumption of alcohol and caffeine.
For any concerns about one’s bone health or understanding the risks associated with conditions like osteoporosis, one should book an appointment with their doctor, who would be able to prescribe tests, if required, and help them understand what they can do to keep their bones healthy.
Apart from this, it is important to take note of the aforementioned bone health tips to ensure all proper steps can be taken for the best results and healthier bones.