Diet and exercise tips for preventing osteoporosis.
Bones are the foundation of a human body, quite literally connecting us from head to toe. They’re a core component of strength, support, and mobility. Healthy bones are dense and can protect us from breaks and fractures, improve our posture, and keep us feeling strong. But sometimes our bones can become porous and weaken, causing osteoporosis. Marked by a loss of bone, inadequate production of bone, or both, osteoporosis affects approximately one in two women and one in two men over age 50. This National Osteoporosis Awareness Month, we’re highlighting seven easy ways to boost bone strength through diet and exercise, including:
- Eat as many vegetables as possible
- Incorporate strength training into your exercise routine
- Get enough calcium and vitamin D
- Consume enough protein (but without overdoing it)
- Maintain a healthy and stable weight
- Avoid crash diets
- Try plant-based milks
Strengthening your bones relies on a holistic combination of healthy lifestyle choices. Continue reading below to learn more about these tips on how to strengthen your bones. As with any new diet or fitness program, be sure to check with your doctor to find the right approach for you.
1. Eat as many vegetables as possible
All vegetables are good for you in one way or another, but when it comes to bone health, leafy greens reign supreme. Embrace those healthy salads, because spinach, kale, lettuce, and other dark leafy greens are chock-full of the vitamins, minerals, and proteins that bones love. Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes are nourishing, bone-healthy choices as well, and there are many delicious ways to prepare them!
Check out these super foods for seniors’ super health here.
2. Incorporate strength training into your exercise routine
Cardio is good for your heart health, but it’s not the only kind of exercise that matters. Resistance training and weight-bearing activities are associated with improved bone density. Hitting the strength machines and picking up free weights will help grow your muscles – andyour bones. You don’t have lift hundreds of pounds to see benefits, either. Ask a trainer to help you develop a routine that’s best for you, then start where you’re comfortable. If you’re doing at-home workouts, make it fun by turning on your favorite TV show or music while you work out.
3. Get enough calcium and vitamin D
While calcium may be known to protect bones from osteoporosis, it’s not the only way to boost your bone strength. In fact, research shows that both calcium and vitamin D together can play a role. While calcium may be better known for its bone-boosting effects, it’s the team approach with vitamin D that can help you absorb it for the maximum impact. Check this chartto see how much calcium and vitamin D you should consume and consult with your doctor about the right amounts for you.
Learn more about the importance of calcium here.
4. Consume enough protein (without overdoing it)
When it comes to protein, balance is key. Protein aids in calcium absorption, so if you’re not getting enough, it could affect your bone mass. Protein from vegetable sources seems to be particularly beneficial, so think high-protein veggies like peas, spinach, and Brussels sprouts, plus beans and nuts. However, too much protein may come with risks of its own. Excess animal protein carries the bulk of these risks, though fish is typically regarded as a safer source.
5. Maintain a healthy and stable weight
When it comes to your weight, aim to be right in the middle. Being underweight is a risk factor for increased bone loss, while obesity puts more stress on bones and increases fracture risk. Talk to your doctor about the ideal weight for you and do your best to reach and maintain a mid-range weight to help you maintain your bone strength.
Find out how fitness trackers can help active seniors lose weight here.
6. Avoid crash dieting
Bones don’t like crash diets. While very low-calorie regimens may speed up weight loss, they can also result in bone density loss. If losing weight is your goal, a slow and steady method is most often the kindest to your bones. Strive for an adequate calorie intake of however much your doctor or dietitian advises and emphasize healthy foods.
7. Try plant-based milks
It may come as a surprise, but drinking large amounts of cow’s milk may not actually decrease the risk of bone fractures as previously thought. To get your milk fix, experiment with adding in plant-based versions like coconut, pea, almond, or oat milk with your morning cereal or coffee. Many of these milks are fortified, so you can enjoy plenty of calcium plus other vitamins that can do your body good.
Of all these ways to boost your bone strength, we noticed a recurring theme: eat well and exercise. Both activities have health benefits that extend to your bones and beyond. For more health and wellness articles, visit our blog today.
Looking for more ways to stay healthy? Check out these deliciously nutritious heart-healthy foods.