Bone health is something that should concern everyone. In addition to providing a stable and strong framework for your body, bones do other important jobs like protecting organs, and housing calcium and marrow (where blood cells are made).
Naturally, most people don’t think about having healthy bones until there is some risk of bone loss.
Those most at risk for developing osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones, are adults over 50.
The good news is you can make a difference in your bone health at any age. Here are 10 tips that will improve the health of your bones.
- Increase your calcium intake. Yes, you’ve been hearing this as far back as you can remember. Bones store calcium and are partly made of calcium. Eating food that is high in calcium is essential for maintaining healthy bones. Dairy products are an excellent source of calcium, as are dark green, leafy vegetables.
- Don’t under-eat. Consuming drastically fewer calories than your body needs to function will have a negative effect on your bone density. People with eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia are at risk for bone loss with long-term consequences.
- Vitamin D. Your body needs vitamin D to absorb the calcium in your diet. More and more people are taking vitamin D supplements to stay healthy. It’s a good idea for everyone to take some extra D – adults should consume 600 IUs per day, and adults over 70 should have 800 IUs per day.
- Vitamin K is important, too. Vitamins K and D work together to help the body absorb calcium. Studies have shown that vitamin K is important to building and maintaining bone mass.
- Be active. People who move around are less likely to develop osteoporosis. When it comes to bone density, adopt a “use it or lose it” approach.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking tobacco is linked with bone loss, since it prevents the body from absorbing calcium.
- Limit alcohol. Drinking alcohol in moderation doesn’t hurt your bones. But more than 1 – 2 drinks per day can hurt by inhibiting vitamin D absorption.
- Watch your caffeine intake. Just like alcohol, consuming a moderate amount of caffeine is perfectly safe for your bones. But excess amounts may interfere with calcium absorption.
- Avoid certain medications. Steroids are miracle drugs in many ways, but long-term use of oral corticosteroids can have a negative effect on your body – including preventing your body from absorbing calcium. Some medications taken for chronic heartburn or acid reflux can also affect bone density when taken for long periods.
- Know your risks. There are some risk indicators for osteoporosis that we can’t change. Women are more likely to be affected than men, as well as adults over 50, people of Caucasian or Asian descent, and people with relatives with osteoporosis. If you know you are more likely to have bone loss, you can make healthy choices in your life that may help balance the risk.
The skilled practitioners at Tarpon Orthopedics are experts in all things bone, from pain management to orthopedic fractures. Call (972) 596-1059 to schedule a consultation at our West Plano, North Plano, or Addison, Texas, locations.