Bone density is important to a person’s overall health. If bones lose their density, they can break easily. Bone density changes over time. During childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood, bones absorb nutrients and minerals and become stronger. However, when a person reaches his twenties, he has reached his maximum bone mass, which means that he is no longer gaining bone density. Bones can lose density as a person ages. After menopause, in particular, a person becomes susceptible to osteoporosis, a disease that can weaken bones to the point that they break easily.
However, there are many ways to increase and maintain bone density. Here are some tips to increase bone density naturally.
1. Weightlifting and bodybuilding
Strength training can increase bone mineral density and reduce inflammation. Studies have shown that weight lifting and strength training help promote new bone growth and maintain existing bone structure. For example, a study of bone density in children with type 1 diabetes showed that engaging in weight-bearing physical activity during the years of peak bone growth improves bone density. Another study in children showed similar results.
The benefits of weight and strength training are:
– an increase in bone mineral density
– increase in the size of the bones
– reduction of inflammation
– protection against bone loss
– Increased muscle mass
2. Eat more vegetables
Vegetables are low in calories and provide vitamins, minerals and fiber. A study has shown that vitamin C can help protect bones from damage. Eating yellow and green vegetables is beneficial for most people. In children, these vegetables promote bone growth; in adults, they help maintain bone density and strength. One study showed that children who ate green and yellow vegetables and few fried foods saw an increase in healthy fats and bone density. In another Trust study, postmenopausal participants who ate 9 servings of cabbage, broccoli and other vegetables and herbs for 3 months saw reduced bone turnover and calcium loss. The researchers attributed these results to the increase in polyphenols and potassium provided by the vegetables.
3. Consume calcium throughout the day
Calcium is the main nutrient for bone health. Since bones break down and grow every day, it is essential that people get enough calcium in their diet. The best way to absorb calcium is to eat small amounts throughout the day, rather than just one calcium-rich meal per day. It’s best to get calcium from your diet, unless a doctor tells you otherwise. Calcium-rich foods include the following:
– some leafy green vegetables, such as kale
– the beans
4. Eat foods rich in vitamins D and K
Foods rich in K-2, such as sauerkraut, play a vital role in bone health. Vitamin K-2 plays a vital role in bone health by reducing calcium loss and helping minerals adhere to bone.
Foods that contain vitamin K-2 are:
– the cheese
– natto, which is a soy-based product.
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. People with vitamin D deficiency are at increased risk of losing bone mass. Moderate exposure to sunlight helps absorb vitamin D. Without enough vitamin D, a person is at increased risk of developing bone diseases, such as osteoporosis or osteopenia.
5. Maintain a healthy weight
A healthy weight is essential for bone density, people who are underweight have a higher risk of developing bone diseases, while being overweight puts extra pressure on the bones. Rapid weight loss and cycles of weight gain and loss should be avoided. When a person loses weight, they may lose bone density, but bone density does not return when the weight is regained. This reduction in density can lead to weakening of the bones.
6. Avoid low-calorie diets
Super low-calorie diets can lead to health problems, including loss of bone density. Before dieting, discuss your calorie needs with a health professional to determine a target number of calories to consume safely. Any diet should have a balance of protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals.
7. Eat more protein
Protein plays a vital role in bone health and bone density, and a person must ensure that they have enough protein in their diet. A study of 144,000 postmenopausal participants found that those who consumed more protein saw their overall bone density increase. Collectively, the participants who ate more protein also suffered fewer forearm fractures. Consult a doctor before significantly altering your protein intake.
8. Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids
Many old studies have determined that omega-3 fatty acids play a role in maintaining bone density. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in a variety of foods, including salmon, mackerel, nuts, and seeds. People can consume these fatty acids through their diet or supplements.
9. Eat foods rich in magnesium and zinc
Eating walnuts can support bone health and density due to their high magnesium content. Like calcium, magnesium and zinc are minerals that provide important support for bone density and health. Magnesium helps activate vitamin D so it can promote calcium absorption. Zinc, found in bones, promotes bone growth and helps prevent bone breakdown.
Foods rich in magnesium and zinc are:
– whole grains
10. Quit smoking
Smoking is a well-known health hazard. Many people associate smoking with lung cancer and respiratory problems, but smoking can also cause bone diseases, such as osteoporosis, and increase the risk of fractures. To maintain healthy bone density, a person should not smoke, especially during adolescence and early adulthood.
11. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
In moderation, drinking alcohol is not likely to affect a person’s bone health. However, chronic heavy drinking can lead to poor calcium absorption, decreased bone density, and the development of osteoporosis later in life. Young women who drink heavily during their teens and twenties are at higher risk for bone density loss.
Bone density develops throughout life and peaks in your late twenties. To maintain healthy bone density, it’s important to get plenty of calcium, vitamin D, protein, and vegetables. It is also important to avoid smoking and excessive drinking. Following these steps can help maintain bone density throughout adulthood.
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