How to keep your bones strong and healthy naturally

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Why is bone health important?

Healthy bones are vital to keep us physically active and move easily. Bones protect the brain, heart, and other internal organs from injury. They provide support to the muscles and store minerals like calcium and phosphorous. Strong bones are also necessary to balance the body and maintain posture.

What happens to our bones with aging?

The body continuously replaces old bone tissue with new tissue. However, as we grow older, there is a loss in bone mass as the body dissolves more bone than it rebuilds. This, along with inactive lifestyle and hormonal changes make the bones weak, brittle, and prone to fractures.

How to keep the bones strong naturally

Bone health is important throughout life and is vital to build strong and healthy bones during childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Fortunately, there are several ways to strengthen and maintain healthy bones naturally which range from consuming nutritious food to performing specific exercises and adopting lifestyle changes.

#1 – Consume vegetables rich in Vitamin C

Green and yellow coloured vegetables are a great source of vitamin C, which is important for healthy bones. Vitamin C stimulates the growth of bone-forming cells and helps to mineralize the bone. Also, the antioxidant properties of vitamin C are known to protect the bone from damage.

#2 – Perform strength training and weight-bearing exercises

Strength training exercises like lifting weights or push-ups are known to increase bone density and reduce the risk of bone loss. On the other hand, weight-bearing exercises such as brisk walking, running, and jumping provide bone-strengthening benefits.

#3 – Get enough vitamin D and vitamin K

Vitamins D and K protect bone health, reducing the risk of developing bone diseases. Vitamin D is required for calcium absorption while vitamin K helps to make proteins needed for bone formation. Sources of Vitamin D include sunlight, fatty fish, liver, and cheese. Green leafy vegetables and vegetable oils are rich sources of Vitamin K.

#4 – Choose calcium-rich foods

Nearly 99% of the body’s calcium is stored in the bones and teeth. Calcium is vital to build and maintain strong, healthy bones. It is necessary to consume adequate calcium every day to keep the bones dense. Calcium-rich foods include dairy products, greens, and fish like sardines.

#5 – Consume enough protein

Protein is a key nutrient for bone health. About 50% of the bone structure is made of protein. Protein provides strength and flexibility to the bones and prevents bone diseases such as osteoporosis. The intake of protein can increase bone mass and result in fewer fractures when the calcium intake is adequate.

#6 – Avoid calorie restriction

A diet which is very low in calories can eliminate whole food groups and harm bone health. Low-calorie intake can also slow down metabolism and lead to lower bone density. Calorie restriction in combination with exercise can make bones weaker and therefore, consuming a well-balanced diet is recommended.

#7 – Maintain a healthy weight

Maintaining a stable, healthy weight helps support bone health and preserve bone density. Being underweight is associated with reduced bone density and bone loss. On the other hand, being overweight can impair bone quality and the stress of carrying excessive weight can increase the risk of fractures.

#8 – Eat foods high in magnesium and zinc

Magnesium is required for vitamin D activation and is found in dried beans, legumes, and nuts. Zinc makes up the mineral content of bones. It promotes new bone formation while preventing excessive bone breakdown. Zinc can be obtained from shrimp, spinach, flaxseeds, and pumpkin seeds.

#9 – Quit smoking and limit alcohol intake

Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are associated with loss of bone mineral density, increasing the risk of falls and related fractures. Both the factors are known to interfere with maintaining calcium balance in the body, production of vitamin D, and hormones that have protective effects on bones.

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