As you age, your bones become thinner and lose their density. Over time, you become more prone to injury.
Many of the things that raise your chances for osteoporosis are things you can’t change, like your genes, your age, and your sex.
Osteoporosis which is so prevalent now, was virtually unheard of a hundred years ago. It was a rarity until the turn-of-the-century. So what happened? Did our genes change in a hundred years?
No! Genetic material takes thousands of years to change. The only thing that changed was our environment. Our diet and lifestyle are much different than they were hundred years ago and it has caused an epidemic of osteoporosis.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t prevent the disease. The things you do every day can be part of your plan to build strong bones.
Fortunately, there are many methods that can prevent and treat it to help you avoid complications or irreversible damage.
Consume dairy products
Regular consumption of dairy products is one of the best ways to strengthen and protect your bones.
These foods contain high levels of calcium, an essential mineral for the formation and strengthening of your skeletal system.
First, however, you need to determine if you have an intolerance to lactose.If so, the consumption of these products could be harmful and you will need to find alternatives.
Get Some Sun
Vitamin D deficiency is also epidemic in our society. Vitamin D helps to absorb calcium, and put it in the bones. It is also important for immune system modulation, depression, and autoimmune disorders. It is made in your skin when you get out in the sun. The farther you are from the equator, the less vitamin D you make in your skin. Most supplements contain 400 to 800 IU which is inadequate for most people in northern latitudes.
Since a skin cancer is such a concern, most people use sunscreen when they go out in the sun. Sunscreen blocks over 90% of your vitamin D production. But instead of putting yourself at risk for skin cancer, the best solution is to take supplements. Vitamin D levels can be measured by your physician, and the supplements can be titrated accordingly.
When the muscles pull against the bones during exercise, it stimulates the bones and tells them that they are needed. Any weight-bearing exercise such as walking, hiking, climbing stairs and weightlifting can increase bone density. As little as 15 to 30 minutes a day can be helpful. Weightlifting does not need to be with heavy weights either, it can be with as little as 2 – 5 pound hand or ankle weights. Or you can use your own body weight and let gravity to do the job. Floor exercises such as leg lifts and sit ups, will work just fine. Exercises such as swimming and cycling though great for muscle strength and fitness are not weight-bearing so aren’t the most beneficial for your bones.
Limit your consumption of sugars
Excessive consumption of sugar and carbonated beverages increases the level of acidity in your blood and decreases bone density.
These foods are very acidic for the body, so it’s forced to use its mineral reserves to balance the pH.
Because calcium is being diverted to other tasks, the bones and teeth begin to severely deteriorate.
In conclusion, by simply improving your daily habits – especially where the diet is concerned – you can reduce your risk of skeletal problems.
Don’t smoke, and don’t drink excessively
Bad news for bad habits: Loss of bone mineral density is associated with tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption, Dr. Sikon says. If you smoke, look into a program to help you quit. If you drink, stick to no more than one libation a day, she advises.
Eat Plants and Fermented Foods
Many fruits and vegetables contain a number of bone-friendly nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin K, vitamin C, and protein. Edible plants also provide anti-inflammatory agents and antioxidants, which counter inflammation and oxidative stress, respectively — two cellular conditions associated with aging and many chronic diseases, including osteoporosis. Research has also linked higher intake of fruits and vegetables with better bone mass. A Swedish study published in 2015 in the Journal of Bone Mineral Research looked at men and women between ages 45 and 83 and demonstrated that those who shunned plant foods had an 88 percent higher rate of hip fracture compared to people who ate the recommended five daily servings of fruits and vegetables.
Fermented foods, such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi, may also positively affect bone: They contain probiotics (live microorganisms, mainly bacteria) with health benefits, and these “good” microbes colonize your intestinal tract, among other bodily surfaces. Animals raised in a germ-free environment so that they’ll have no intestinal microorganisms lose bone more rapidly than those with normal, healthy microbes. In theory, consuming probiotics in fermented foods or supplements supports a healthy population of gut microbes. Preliminary research in lab animals indicates that probiotic supplements and fermented milk products increase bone mineral density..
Eat dried fruits and nuts
Although dairy products are the best known for their significant calcium content, the same mineral can also be obtained from foods of plant origin.
Dried fruits and certain seeds have huge quantities of this nutrient and other minerals that are essential for bone health.
For example, 30 grams of almonds contain 75 mg of calcium, while just 30 grams of sesame seeds provide 37 mg.
You can also obtain calcium from:
Sunflower seeds, Peanuts, Nuts, Chia seeds
Stress raises cortisol levels. If cortisol levels are high for long periods of time it can cause bone loss. Cortisol antagonizes insulin and leads to insulin resistance, eventually raising the blood sugar and causing calcium loss in the urine. As little as 25 teaspoons of sugar can cause calcium to be lost in the urine.
Stress reduction can include specific activities aimed at invoking the “relaxation response” such as yoga, tai chi, meditation, massage and prayer. It may also include getting more sleep, taking a vacation, getting psychotherapy to help with toxic relationships, and making an effort not to “burn the candle at both ends”.