Protecting bone health is essential for continued mobility in older age. Bones begin to weaken after 35 years of age. Weak bones may lead to Osteoporosis - a condition where bones become fragile and get susceptible to fractures.
Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to strengthen the health of your bones and prevent osteoporosis
. Here are the four easy steps:
1. Take enough calcium and Vitamin D every day
The recommended dietary intake of calcium
is about 1000 mg every day for most of us and should be taken along with 600 IU of vitamin
D, as absorption of calcium requires vitamin D. All calcium taken in the diet is lost if there is a deficiency of vitamin D.
Food rich in calcium include:
- Milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and other dairy products
- Dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli
- Legumes such as green peas, lentils
- Dried nuts such as almonds, apricots, raisins
- Vitamin D- rich foods are:
- Egg yolk
- Cod liver oil
- Fish such as salmon, tuna
- Soy milk
Keep in mind that a vegetarian diet does not provide much vitamin D. For vegetarians, supplements or consumption of vitamin D fortified foods can help fulfill their daily Vitamin D requirements.
2. Do bone-strengthening exercises
An active lifestyle with regular muscle strengthening and weight-bearing exercises is a must to build strong bones. To strengthen your bones you can:
- Climb up and down the stairs 3 to 4 times a day
- Go for brisk walking
- Try light jogging
- Go dancing
Needless to say, strengthening exercises improve balance and strength. However, please note that weight-lifting exercises are not recommended if your bones are already susceptible to fractures. So, don’t forget to consult with your doctor before taking up a new activity.
3. Practice a healthy lifestyle
Improving your bone health is in your hands, to a great extent. Practice the following to ensure good health of your bones:
- Maintain a stable, healthy weight. Being overweight or underweight is always risky.
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables (at least 3 to 5 servings) every day.
- Quit smoking and keep your alcohol intake to the minimum.
- Consume less caffeine, as too much of it, may interfere with your body’s ability to absorb calcium.
- Boost potassium and Vitamin K intake with foods such as Kale, broccoli, sweet potatoes, yogurt, bananas, and yogurt.
4. Prevent falls and improve your balance
It’s a no-brainer but holds significance for your overall health. To reduce fractures, it is as important to reduce falls as it is to make your bones stronger. You must always try to:
- Keep the floor clutter-free.
- Avoid using slippery runners or rugs in the house.
- Maintain sufficient lighting in the house even at night to avoid falls.
- Make sure the stairs have railing on the sides.
- Avoid uncomfortable shoes or high heels.
- Learn posture exercises.
It takes a cumulative effort from yourself and your doctor for an improved bone health. Better talk to your physician before following any of the given suggestions. S/he will help you figure out the best way to protect your bones, suiting to your specific health condition.