How often do you consider the health of your bones? I know, it’s quite a random question – and probably not something you think about all that regularly! When it comes to the skin, the muscles, even our weight – these are all things we can see – and things we can notice changes in. Bones, on the other hand – if you can see them, you should probably be in the emergency room. How can we take good care of our bones?
Strength and Resistance Training – Not Just For The #Gainz
Weight bearing exercise is particularly effective when it comes to supporting the health of your bones. Exercise of this nature actually serves to promote new bone growth in both men and women, and offers a myriad of benefits.
For women in particular, weight bearing exercise can help prevent against the onset of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. The same has been found in older men and women, with the added benefits of increased bone mineral density, bone strength and size, as well as a reduction in bone turnover.
Time to hit the gym!
Think of protein as the building blocks of nearly element of the body. It’s pretty important! Eating adequate protein each day helps to preserve bone density, as well as being critical to the development of muscle mass (which is important for protecting bones and safe-guarding against falls later in life). To give you some perspective, protein makes up roughly 50% of bone volume – so be sure to maintain a healthy protein intake through all phases of your life for strong bones.
Variety of Vitamins and Minerals
It would be remiss of us to craft an article on bone health without mentioning the C word – that being, calcium. Most of us know that calcium is a critical nutrient when it comes to bone health. In fact, 99% of the calcium found in the body is found within the skeleton. The bones in our body are essentially the storage facility for calcium, regulating the amount of calcium in our blood stream which is critical for nerve and muscle function. When it comes to the consumption of calcium, the trick is to spread it out over your day, rather than guzzling down a litre of milk or a block of cheese in one sitting. Taking in your calcium gradually over the day allows the body to best absorb it for optimal bone health. Obvious sources of calcium are dairy products (milk, cheese, yoghurt) but calcium can also be found in some green vegetables, as well as certain nuts and small fish such as sardines.
Calcium isn’t the whole story when it comes to the nutrients that build strong bones. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in this story, essentially controlling the body’s absorption of calcium in the intestines. Vitamin D is made in our skin (impressive, hey!) when we are exposed to UV-B rays in the sun. Given that Australians heed the ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’ message so well (coupled with the fact that most of us spend the majority of our day indoors) means that vitamin D deficiency is common in Australia. Some foods are now fortified with vitamin D, so keep an eye out for them in the supermarket. You can also head outside for a few minutes in the sun each day for the vitamin D you need.
With calcium and vitamin D taking centre stage in our ensemble cast of bone health, we can’t overlook the supporting roles played by vitamin C and magnesium. Both shown to be helpful when it comes to maintaining bone health, vitamin K can be found in leafy greens, some fermented cheese and dried fruit. You’ll be able to track down magnesium in green vegetables, as well as seeds, nuts and unrefined grains.
There you have it. A few simple ingredients in your day to ensure you keep your bones healthy and strong well into the future!
Intended as general advice only. Please consult your Health Care Provider about a plan for healthy bones and to discuss any specific concerns.