Keep your bones strong now
Strong bones have to be built from a very young age because peak mineral bone density for men and women occurs between the ages of 25 and 35. After that, unfortunately, it slowly starts to decline. But this is not the only issue: other conditions are associated with osteoporosis such as osteoarthritis and research also shows an association between heart failure and osteoporosis. Therefore it is so important to encourage activities for our kids so that they start their adult life with the best mineral bone density possible.
However, if you want to be proactive, there is good evidence to suggest that dietary and lifestyle therapies and specific types of exercise can improve bone mineral density.
1- Do weight bearing exercise. It is so important! This strengthens the muscles and allows better support for the skeleton (meaning less fracture risks). Bones become stronger when a certain amount of strain is placed on them, and is particularly important for women to focus on during menopause with the loss of oestrogen increasing bone loss.
2- Eat foods that maintain bone health. Dairy products (if you can) are certainly a good way to get a lot of calcium in your diet but by no mean the only ones! Many non-dairy sources are also high in calcium, including nuts and seeds, sardines, spinach and kale. Potassium and magnesium are also important minerals for bone health so eat a lot of green leafy vegetables, eat avocados, bananas, potatoes and fish.
There are also ‘helper foods’ you can eat which scientists have shown to have direct effects on either inhibiting osteoclast activity (breaking down the bone) or stimulating osteoblast activity (building it up): blueberries (reduce bone breakdown) and plums (5 to 6 a day- increase bone formation), citrus fruits (positive association between vitamin C consumption and maintenance of bone mass), onion (reduce bone breakdown) and alfalfa sprouts (helps with both formation and maintenance of bones thanks to high vitamin K content).
3- Getting out in the sun and receiving more beneficial vitamin D will also help as Vitamin D keeps your bones strong by helping your body absorb calcium and phosphorus, key minerals for bone health.
Taking care of your bone health is something everyone should be interested in! It might not seem important now but as you age and want to keep your autonomy, it will quickly become essential.