Most of us take our bones for granted until a bad fall causes fractures or breaks, or osteoporosis prevents us from becoming physically active. While a strong physical force may directly cause bone damage and old age may lead to osteoporosis, poor nutrition may also make bones brittle and susceptible to injuries.
Unlike skin cells, the bones that you are born with grow, develop and remain with you for as long as you live. Ideally, the best time to start taking care of your bones is while you are young. Bones develop the most during childhood and adolescent years. Bone health when you are fifty is greatly determined by how you take care of your bones during the growing up years.
As an adult, you may still prevent the early deterioration of your bones with the help of a diet that is high in calcium, Vitamin-D intake and regular exercise. As you will notice, a health plan that is good for your body is the same foundation of bone health.
Your body removes and replaces calcium from your bones daily. Without sufficient calcium to replace daily calcium loss, your bones may become thin and weak. To prevent this from happening, you need to have a steady and good supply of calcium coming from dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt. For optimum health, choose non-fat or low fat versions of milk and other dairy foods. You can also increase your calcium intake by eating more green leafy vegetables, whole grains, citrus fruits and beans and drinking calcium fortified orange juice.
Vitamin-D is also important to bone health because it ensures the proper absorption of calcium in your body. Vitamin-D is naturally produced by your body when it receives adequate amounts of natural sunlight. It may also be obtained from food sources like fatty fish and fortified drinks and cereals. Unfortunately, the risks of skin cancer may deter you from getting enough sun exposure while natural food sources do not provide adequate amounts of Vitamin-D in your diet; thus, supplementation with Vitamin-D may be necessary for bone health maintenance.
Studies show that women who are physically active tend to have stronger bones than women who lead sedentary lives. You can develop bone strength by performing weight bearing exercises as constant use of your bones increases bone density, making it tougher and less susceptible to breaks, fractures and other injuries. Aside from lifting light weights, brisk walking, jogging and climbing stairs regularly also help strengthen your bones.
Smoking and alcohol consumption are bad for your bones. Excessive alcohol intake or binge drinking decreases bone mass and bone strength. Newer studies also indicate that alcohol may alter your body's genes that are necessary for the maintenance of healthy bones. On the other hand, cigarette smoke contains nicotine which keeps the body from using nutrients like Vitamin-C to maintain bone strength. While you may supply your body's nutrient gaps with supplementation, avoiding cigarette smoke and alcohol not only prevents bone injuries but also promotes general health.