You probably don’t give your bones a second thought as long as you’re able to do the activities you want to.
But did you know that after age 30 you start losing bone density? In fact, women will lose up to 20 percent of bone mineral density in the five to seven years after menopause. And by age 65 men and women lose bone density at the same rate.
Sadly, loss of bone mass often ends up causing life-changing fractures. The good news is you don’t have to wait for a fall or break to fight the disease.
Risk factors for osteoporosis include aging, being female, low body weight, low sex hormones or menopause, smoking, and some medications. Prevention and treatment include calcium and vitamin D, exercise, and osteoporosis medications.
Here are 10 natural ways to build healthy bones.
1. Eat Lots of Vegetables
Consuming a diet high in vegetables has been shown to help create healthy bones during childhood and protect bone mass in young adults and older women.
2. Perform Strength Training and Weight-Bearing Exercises
Performing weight-bearing and resistance training exercises can help increase bone formation during bone growth and protect bone health in older adults, including those with low bone density.
3. Consume Enough Protein
A low protein intake can lead to bone loss, while a high protein intake can help protect bone health during aging and weight loss.
4. Eat High-Calcium Foods Throughout the Day
Calcium is the main mineral found in bones and must be consumed every day to protect bone health. Spreading your calcium intake throughout the day will optimize absorption.
5. Get Plenty of Vitamin D and Vitamin K
Getting adequate amounts of vitamins D and K2 from food or supplements may help protect bone health.
6. Avoid Very Low-Calorie Diets
Diets providing too few calories have been found to reduce bone density, even when combined with resistance exercise. Consume a balanced diet with at least 1,200 calories daily to preserve bone health.
7. Consider Taking a Collagen Supplement
Emerging evidence suggests that supplementing with collagen may help preserve bone health by reducing collagen breakdown.
8. Maintain a Stable, Healthy Weight
Being too thin or too heavy can negatively affect bone health. Furthermore, maintaining a stable weight, rather than repeatedly losing and regaining it, can help preserve bone density.
9. Include Foods High in Magnesium and Zinc
Magnesium and zinc play key roles in achieving peak bone mass during childhood and maintaining bone density during aging.
10. Consume Foods High in Omega-3 Fats
Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to promote the formation of new bone and protect against bone loss in older adults.
Bone health is important at all stages of life.
However, having strong bones is something people tend to take for granted, as symptoms often don’t appear until bone loss is advanced.
Fortunately, there are many nutrition and lifestyle habits that can help build and maintain strong bones — and it’s never too early to start.