Bone density is important for a person’s overall health. If the bones lose their density, they can break easily. Bone density changes over time. During childhood, adolescence and early adulthood, bones absorb nutrients and minerals and grow in strength. However, when a person reaches their late twenties, they have reached their peak bone mass, which means they are no longer gaining bone density. Bones can lose density as a person ages. After menopause, in particular, a person becomes susceptible to osteoporosis, a disease that can weaken bones to the point that they break easily.
However, there are many ways to boost and maintain bone density. Here are some tips to increase bone density naturally.
1. Weightlifting and bodybuilding
Strength training can increase bone mineral density and reduce inflammation. Studies have shown that weightlifting and strength training help promote new bone growth and maintain existing bone structure. For example, a study of bone density in children with type 1 diabetes showed that participating in weight-bearing physical activity during the years of peak bone growth improves bone density. Another study on children showed similar results.
The benefits of weight and strength training are:
– an increase in bone mineral density
– increased bone size
– reduction of inflammation
– protection against bone loss
– increased muscle mass
2. Eat more vegetables
Vegetables are low in calories and provide vitamins, minerals and fiber. A study has shown that vitamin C can help protect bones from damage. Eating yellow and green vegetables is beneficial for most people. In children, these vegetables promote bone growth; in adults, they help maintain bone density and strength. A study showed that children who ate green and yellow vegetables and few fried foods saw an increase in healthy fats and bone density. In another Trust study, postmenopausal participants who ate 9 servings of cabbage, broccoli, and other vegetables and herbs for 3 months saw reduced bone turnover and calcium loss. The researchers attributed these results to the increase in polyphenols and potassium provided by vegetables.
3. Consume calcium throughout the day
Calcium is the main nutrient for bone health. As bones break down and grow every day, it is essential that people get enough calcium in their diet. The best way to absorb calcium is to eat small amounts throughout the day, rather than just one calcium-rich meal a day. It is best to get calcium from the diet, unless advised otherwise by a doctor. Calcium-rich foods include the following:
– some leafy green vegetables, such as kale
4. Eat foods rich in vitamins D and K
Foods rich in K-2, such as sauerkraut, play a vital role in bone health. Vitamin K-2 plays a vital role in bone health by reducing calcium loss and helping minerals attach to bone.
Foods that contain vitamin K-2 are:
– the sauerkraut
– natto, which is a soy-based product.
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. People with vitamin D deficiency have a higher risk of losing bone mass. Moderate exposure to sunlight helps absorb vitamin D. Without enough vitamin D, a person has a higher risk of developing bone disease, such as osteoporosis or osteopenia.
5. Maintain a healthy weight
A healthy weight is essential for bone density, underweight people have a higher risk of developing bone disease, while being overweight puts extra stress on the bones. Rapid weight loss and cycles of weight gain and loss should be avoided. When a person loses weight, they may lose bone density, but bone density does not recover when they regain weight. This reduction in density can lead to weakening of the bones.
6. Avoid low calorie diets
Super low-calorie diets can lead to health issues, including loss of bone density. Before dieting, discuss your calorie needs with a healthcare professional to determine a target number of calories to safely consume. Any diet should have a balance of proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals.
7. Eat more protein
Protein plays a vital role in bone health and bone density, and a person should make sure to get enough protein in their diet. A study of 144,000 postmenopausal participants found that those who consumed more protein saw their overall bone density increase. Collectively, participants who ate more protein also suffered fewer forearm fractures. Consult a physician before significantly altering your protein intake.
8. Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids
Many old studies have determined that omega-3 fatty acids play a role in maintaining bone density. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in a variety of foods, such as salmon, mackerel, nuts and seeds. People can consume these fatty acids through their diet or supplements.
9. Eat Foods Rich in Magnesium and Zinc
Eating nuts may support bone health and density due to their high magnesium content. Like calcium, magnesium and zinc are minerals that provide important support for bone health and density. Magnesium helps activate vitamin D so that it can promote calcium absorption. Zinc, found in bones, promotes bone growth and helps prevent bone breakdown.
Foods rich in magnesium and zinc are:
– Whole grains
10. Quit smoking
Smoking is a well-known health hazard. Many people associate smoking with lung cancer and respiratory problems, but smoking can also cause bone diseases, such as osteoporosis, and increase the risk of fractures. To maintain healthy bone density, a person should not smoke, especially during their teenage and young adult years.
11. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
In moderation, alcohol consumption is not likely to affect a person’s bone health. However, excessive and chronic alcohol consumption can lead to poor calcium absorption, decreased bone density and the development of osteoporosis later in life. Young women who drink heavily during their teens and twenties are most at risk for bone density loss.
Bone density develops throughout life and peaks in your late twenties. To maintain healthy bone density, it is important to consume plenty of calcium, vitamin D, protein and vegetables. It is also important to avoid smoking and excessive drinking. Taking these steps can help maintain bone density throughout adulthood.
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