The Best Ways to Strengthen Your Bones as you Age
Our bones are quite literally our core, making up the skeleton that holds us together from the very start of our lives, to the very end of it. This is why we need to look after our bones, in order to lead a healthy lifestyle.
As we age, we all naturally begin to lose bone mass. This happens as early as our 30’s for women. This can lead to a number of problems, such as osteoporosis and arthritis. So, to avoid this, keeping your bones nice and strong is of great importance.
The great thing is, you do not have to be put on medication to look after your bones. In fact, there are a number of different natural solutions that you can try at home that will improve your bone density, and help to reduce your chances of developing bone related problems later in life.
Here are just some natural ways that you can help to protect your bones as you get older.
Eat plenty of seeds:
Calcium is one of the most important things that you can take in order to keep your bones strong and healthy. In fact, our whole skeleton is largely made up of calcium; however there are other minerals that play a huge role too – magnesium being a really important one.
Low levels of magnesium in your bones have been strongly linked to fragile bones and calcium loss according to research, and a lot of seeds are a fantastic source of magnesium; particularly pumpkin seeds. Make sure you are adding these to your diet to keep your bones nice and strong.
Add nuts to your diet:
Contrary to popular belief, your bones are not just hard; they are in fact organs containing live cells and fluid. So, every day, these cells break down and regenerate, which is why they have the ability to heal after breaks and trauma.
Research has suggested that nuts can help to decrease the rate in which the cells in your bones breakdown, keeping the formation constant, and strong.
Walnuts, are particularly rich in alpha linolenic acid, which is an omega-3 fatty acid, and is known to decrease the rate of bone breakdown. Brazil nuts offer a great source of magnesium, which we have previously mentioned is very important to bone strength.
You can either eat the nuts as a snack, or sprinkle some crushed nuts over your cereal. It should be noted though that nuts are high in fat, albeit a healthy fat, so it is important to limit your daily amount to just one quarter of a cup.
Many people avoid tap water and instead opt for bottled water; however, tap water in the UK contains fluoride, which is a component of your bones, and adds to the density of them. It is also used to help dental health as well.
Unfortunately, bottled water does not contain the amount of fluoride that is needed to keep both your bones and teeth healthy, so if you avoid tap water, you are not giving your bones the chance to remain strong and healthy.
We are all told that we should be consuming more green vegetables, and this is because leafy greens are so packed full of bone building nutrients and minerals, especially calcium, magnesium and vitamin K.
Vitamin K is essential for bones, and is vital in forming bone proteins, as well as cutting calcium loss in urine. Research has shown that if you do not get enough of this vital bone vitamin, you are more at risk of hip fractures.
You should be aiming to eat just one cup of raw, or half a cup of cooked greens daily, in order to provide several times the recommended intake of this important vitamin. It is easy to incorporate these into your diet as well, including; adding lettuce to your sandwich; adding spinach to pasta dishes; eat a salad for a starter, or even try cooking up dandelion greens or Swiss chard.
Beans are fantastic at helping to promote bone strength and density, particularly pinto, black, white and kidney beans, which are packed full of magnesium and calcium.
Guidelines suggest that you should be trying to eat at least 2 and a half cups of beans and legumes every single week. On top of helping your bones, you will also reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease and obesity.
Beans are really versatile and are easy to include in your diet.
Drink some milk:
Milk is a really great source of vitamin D, which as we have previously discussed is really important for your bone health. You should be trying to drink skimmed milk, or 1% milk, as the others have really high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol content.
Like we have previously mentioned, when women hit the menopause, they begin to lose oestrogen, and the bones begin to lose calcium more rapidly compared with other times during their life. Calcium and vitamin D, which are both present in milk will help to delay this loss, keeping your bones at maximum strength for longer.
Try and drink at least one glass of milk everyday for maximum effect.
Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables:
Like we said, your diet can play a huge part in your overall health, and this includes bone health. A good diet, which involves eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables will ensure that you are getting the vitamins and minerals that your bones need, and will keep your bones stronger for longer.
Exercise is so important to keep your bones and body healthy, and we should all be aiming to get at least thirty minutes of exercise every single day.
Although you should pick any exercise that you find enjoyable, as you are much more likely to stick to it, weight bearing exercises, such as running, dancing and lifting weights put stress on your bones in a good way. It will signal your body to make more bone cells, which will keep your bones nice and strong, even as you get older.
Avoid drinking too much alcohol:
We are all reminded of the dangers of drinking too much alcohol, and this includes the negative impact that it can have on our bones.
Consistently drinking too much alcohol can massively increase our risk of developing bone problems later on in life, as it can inhibit the formation of new bone cells.