A bone is a living tissue made up of calcium, protein, other minerals, and water. Strong bones are essential for good health and wellbeing. This is because bones offer different benefits, including protecting internal organs and supporting your muscles, thus helping form your shape. 9 Ways to Improve Bone Health Naturally
They also store calcium, provide strength, protect against injury, promote coordination, and improve balance. That’s why you can easily engage in social activities such as dancing or sports without your body falling apart.
The Process of Bone Formation
Bone development begins at about 10 weeks gestation and continues throughout childhood and puberty (13-18 years), with peak bone mass occurring between 25-30 years old. Research shows that building strong bone density early will lower your risk of developing osteoporosis later in life.
This is because, after 40 years, the body slowly begins to lose bone mass. This causes the bones to become weak, increasing the risk for easy fractures and osteoporosis.
However, you can easily slow bone loss by leading a healthy lifestyle like engaging in regular exercises and eating healthy diets.
Here are 9 ways to naturally improve bone health
1. Consume Adequate Amounts of Protein
Protein is an essential nutrient in promoting healthy bones. It helps increase bone mass during growth and preserves bone and muscle mass during aging. It offers a structural matrix of the bone and promotes intestinal calcium absorption, which increases bone density and protects against osteoporosis.
Protein makes up about 50 percent of the bone volume and one-third of its mass.
However, too much protein is believed to increase the acid load in the body, which causes calcium to leach out of the bones to neutralize it.
But not all proteins are the same, as some may have the ability to increase acid load levels. A diet rich in acid-ash protein such as meat, eggs, poultry, cheese, fish, and grains is known to increase acid load levels, while alkaline foods like fruits and vegetables do not affect it in any way..
Research suggests that combining acid-ash protein with alkaline foods like vegetables can help neutralize the effects.
On the other side, research has shown your acid load levels can stay low if consuming up to 100 grams of protein daily combined with other healthy calcium-rich plant foods.
2. Increase your fruit and vegetable intake
Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant protecting against cell damage and increasing bone cell formation.
Vitamin C is also essential for collagen formation. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, including bones, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and skin.
Collagen gives structure to the bones and promotes their strength. Although the body can produce its own collagen, this decreases with age, hence the need for dietary supplementation. How To Eat More Vegetables.
Some vitamin C-rich foods include:
- Brussels sprouts
- Bell peppers
- Snow peas
You can further increase your collagen levels by taking a collagen supplement.
3. Exercise regularly
Regular exercises, especially strength training and weight-bearing exercises have been shown to promote strong and healthy bones.
Weight-bearing exercises involve working against gravity, such as hiking, jogging, walking, dancing, playing tennis, and climbing the stairs. Strength training, on the other hand, works to improve strength and inductance. They include things like lifting weights.
In one study, older men and women doing weight-bearing exercises experienced increased bone mineral density, strength, and size with reduced bone inflammation.
Both strength training and resistance exercises have also been shown to increase bone mineral density in children with type 1 diabetes and those without. Benefits Of Exercise.
4. Increase dietary calcium intake
Calcium is the most essential and abundant mineral in the bone, with about 99% of total body calcium is found in the bones and teeth alone.
Calcium is essential for the development, growth, and maintenance of healthy bones.
A daily intake of 1000mg of calcium is sufficient for most people; however, teens and older women may require a slightly higher amount of 1300 mg and 1200 mg, respectively.
Calcium is, however, better absorbed when taken in smaller doses of not more than 500mg at a time. So spread your calcium-rich food or supplements throughout the day.
The best calcium-rich foods include:
- Leafy greens like kale, spinach, turnips, and collard greens
- Dried fruit
- Chia seeds
- Fortified foods
5. Get an adequate amount of vitamin D
Vitamin D is extremely important for the growth and development of strong bones.
It promotes phosphorus and calcium absorption, both of which are essential minerals for healthy bones.
Research shows that low vitamin D levels may reduce bone density and increase bone loss in adults and children compared to those with sufficient amounts.
Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D; however, one may take a supplement, especially if they don’t get enough sunlight or during the winter months. Benefits Of Sunlight.
6. Ensure enough intake of vitamin K
Vitamin K can increase bone density in people with osteoporosis and lower their rate of fractures. It also prevents the loss of calcium from the bones.
Fermented foods like sauerkraut, fermented foods, and soybean products like natto are the best to consume.
7. Increase your magnesium and zinc intake
Magnesium is another essential mineral for healthy bones. It helps in the conversion of vitamin D to its active form that promotes calcium absorption.
In an observational study, consuming 400mg of magnesium daily recorded a 2-3% increase in bone density than those who consumed half the amount.
Adequate intake of magnesium may help reduce your risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. However, it’s more beneficial to consume enough magnesium when the bones are still developing.
Magnesium deficiency contributes to osteoporosis and bone fractures. However, it’s important to get enough.
8. Include omega 3 rich foods in your diet
Omega 3 fatty acids promote dietary calcium absorption, enhance calcium utilization within the bones, and inhibit bone breakdown, especially in old age.
Furthermore, omega 3 plant sources have been shown to increase bone formation and decrease bone breakdown.
The best plant sources for omega 3 include walnuts, flaxseed, chia seeds, and avocado.
Omega 3 also helps balance out omega 6 fatty acids. Your omega 6:omega 3 ratios should be 4:1 or less.
9. Incorporate zinc-rich food
Zinc has been shown to stimulate the release of bone-building cells, a process known as osteogenesis. It also promotes the synthesis of collagen, which further improves bone health. Research shows that zinc may promote bone growth in children and increase bone density in old age.
Best plant sources of zinc include pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, and spinach. Are You Zinc Deficient?
Bone health is an essential aspect of health that you should never ignore, regardless of age or health status. That being said, there are healthy practices that can help you enhance bone health or improve your strength and density.
These include consuming enough protein, increasing your vegetable intake, exercising regularly, increasing calcium intake, improving your weight, getting enough vitamin D, consuming omega 3 rich foods, and increasing your magnesium and zinc intake.
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