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How to Get Stronger Bones and Maintain Good Health as You Age

Bone health is important. Strong bones can better support your body and protect your organs. As you age, your bones lose their density, and this can increase the risk of injury. Osteoporosis translates to "porous bone." It's characterized by progressive loss of bone density, leading to brittle and easily fractured bones. Understanding how to get stronger bones can make all the difference in the world. It can help you age with better health. Our bones are constantly being remodeled. In fact, it’s estimated that around 10% of our skeleton is regenerated yearly. As we get older, our regeneration is impaired. Although this is a normal function of aging, affecting everyone over the age of 35, some individuals (especially post-menopausal women) are affected more than others, resulting in the characteristic fragile bones associated with osteoporosis. Fortunately, there are ways to discourage this from happening. Keep reading to learn how to get stronger bones.

How to Get Stronger Bones

1. Consume High-Calcium Foods

Remember the days when your parents would tell you to drink your milk? Good bone health requires sufficient amounts of calcium. This is mainly because calcium is the building block of bones. Consuming high-calcium foods may help strengthen your bones. According to some research, adults ages 19 to 50 years should be consuming about 1,000 mg of calcium daily (1). Excellent sources of calcium are milk, cheese and other dairy foods. You might also wish to consume broccoli, cabbage and other green leafy vegetables, tofu and nuts.

2. Get Plenty of Vitamin D

Eating high-calcium foods is good. However, in order for it to be properly absorbed, you need to sufficient vitamin D, AKA the sunshine vitamin (2). As its alternative name suggests, you can get vitamin D through sun exposure. You can also get it from foods like liver, fish like tuna, mackerel and salmon, cheese and egg yolks. If you want to know how to get stronger bones, up your body's production/consumption of vitamin D.

3. Consume Enough Protein

Another nutrient you need to improve bone health is protein. Studies suggest that adequate protein intake may lead to an improved bone mineral density. This may help reduce the risk of injuries (3). The recommended minimum daily allowance for protein is about 0.8 grams per kilogram of your body weight (4). However, you can increase this if you’re particularly active. Some foods that are excellent sources of protein are lean meat, fish and poultry, dairy products, seed, nuts and beans.

4. Avoid Low-Calorie Diets

Low-calorie diets have a lot of disadvantages. For starters, they may slow down your metabolism, make you feel hungry, reduce muscle mass and cause rapid bone loss (5). Furthermore, you can miss a lot of important minerals and vitamins. Moderately active women ages 19 to 30 years old should consume at least 2,000 calories per day. Men, on the other hand, should consume at least 2,600 calories every day.

5. Perform Strength Training Exercises

Strength training is an effective way to lose weight, build muscle and increase bone strength and mineral density (6). Thus, if you want to improve bone health — to enable you to move better and to help prevent injury — it’s a good idea to add strength exercises to your workout routine.

6. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Low body weight is one of the main risk factors of low bone mineral density (7). Obesity is associated with an increased risk of bone fractures (8). Thus, if you want to have healthy bones, it’s best to maintain a stable and healthy weight. You can accomplish this by eating a balanced diet and living an active lifestyle.

7. Increase Consumption of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

You can find omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish like salmon and herring. You can also find them in seeds and nuts like chia seeds, flaxseed and walnuts. Initial studies show that there may be a connection between higher dietary consumption of omega-3 fatty acids and improved bone health (9). Increasing your intake of omega-3 may help adults maintain healthy bones (10). One way to promote bone strength is to consume the right kinds of food and get sufficient exercise. Your body achieves its peak bone mass between 25 and 30 years of age. Ensuring that you receive all the essential nutrients before then is best. It sets you up in good stead for the future. However, getting the right nutrition and staying active even after your body reaches its peak bone mass is also important. It keeps your bones strong and helps prevent the risk of injuries as you get older. Don’t let poor bone health prevent you from enjoying life. Now that you know how to get stronger bones, take care of your body by following the steps above.

  1. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/
  2. “Calcium and vitamin D”, Cashman, KD., (2007).
  3. “Protein intake and bone health”, Bonjour, JP., (2011).
  4. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/how-much-protein-do-you-need-every-day-201506188096
  5. “Effect of diet-induced weight loss on total body bone mass”, Compston, JE., et. al., (1992).
  6. “Short-term bone formation is greatest within high strain regions of the human distal radius: a prospective pilot study”, Bhatia, VA., et al., (2015).
  7. “Low body mass index is an important risk factor for low bone mass and increased bone loss in early postmenopausal women. Early Postmenopausal Intervention Cohort (EPIC) study group”, Ravn, P., et al., (1999).
  8. “A High Amount of Local Adipose Tissue Is Associated With High Cortical Porosity and Low Bone Material Strength in Older Women.”, Sundh D., et. al., (2016).
  9. “The impact of omega-3 fatty acids on osteoporosis.”, Maggio M., et. al., (2009).
  10. “Ratio of n-6 to n-3 fatty acids and bone mineral density in older adults: the Rancho Bernardo Study.”, Weiss LA., et. al., (2005).