Bones are living tissue that supports your body, protects your tissues and organs, and plays an important role in the development and storage of blood cells.
Bones are made up of collagen and a mineral called calcium phosphate, which makes bones solid. As you age, however, you gradually lose collagen and your bones start to lose mineral content, which can lead to bones becoming brittle and more fragile. In some cases, this can lead to osteoporosis.
It is vital to build healthy bones during childhood and adolescence, but it is even more important to protect your bones in adulthood. Here are 6 ways you can protect your bones and slow bone density loss.
6 ways to protect your bones
1. Get enough calcium
Calcium is key when it comes to protecting your bones. Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) amounts of calcium are as follows:
- Adults ages 19-50: 1,000 mg a day
- Men ages 51-70: 1,000 mg a day
- Women ages 51 and older: 1,200 mg a day
- Men ages 71 and older: 1,200 mg a day
Sources of calcium to include in your diet include:
2. Consider a vitamin D supplement
Vitamin D is another key component of healthy bones. Without it, your body is not able to absorb calcium. Vitamin D can be obtained through food and is produced by your skin when exposed to sunlight. RDA amounts of vitamin D are as follows:
- Adults ages 19-70: 600 international units (IUs) a day
- Adults ages 71 and older: 800 IUs a day
3. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals that promote overall health, including bone health. For example, green and yellow vegetables have been shown to help with bone mineralization and stimulate the production of bone-forming cells, both of which help protect your bones.
4. Avoid junk foods and alcohol
Foods high in salt, sugar, and inflammatory properties can damage bone health and weaken your bones. Similarly, caffeine, soda, and alcohol can speed up bone loss and should be avoided or consumed in moderation.
5. Exercise more
Weight-bearing aerobic exercises such as walking, running, jogging, and climbing steps can help you build stronger bones and slow down bone loss. Try to get at least 30 minutes to 1 hour of exercise a day to protect your bone health.
6. Monitor your bone density
If you are at increased risk of osteoporosis, postmenopausal, or oder than 65, consider getting a bone density test. With advancing age, bone density tests and regular health check-ups can help you keep an eye on your bone health and prevent future complications with bone density loss.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Exercise and Bone Health. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/staying-healthy/exercise-and-bone-health/
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Improving Your Bone Health. https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/patient-education/improving-your-bone-health
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