By Gary Simmons
Bone density is crucial for overall health and mobility. Unfortunately, as we age our bones lose strength and durability. Luckily, there are some simple methods to restore bone density. By utilizing some (or even all) of them, you can maximize your health and keep Osteoporosis at bay.
1. Boost Your Calcium Intake
Calcium is crucial for the maintenance of your bones. It is also used for other tasks throughout your body, including helping your heart and muscles function properly. Make sure you are getting enough of this vital mineral because if not your body will withdraw calcium from your bones and use it for other essential tasks. Over the years, this constant calcium drain can lead to Osteoporosis.
The best sources of calcium are dairy products. Try and incorporate milk, cheese, yogurt and fortified orange juice into your meals and snacks. Canned sardines and salmon are also good sources. Some fruit and nuts, such as almonds, dried apricots, and dried figs, also contain calcium. And don't forget dark green vegetables like broccoli and kale are also rich in calcium.
Remember, calcium is only one of the dietary factors that influence bone density. Focusing exclusively on its consumption will not be enough. Try and pay attention to your diet.
2. Cut Back on Sugar
Refined sugar plays havoc on the bodies internal systems. Try and limit its intake as much as possible. The occasional sweets or chocolate are okay but don't make it a daily snack. Sugar elevates insulin levels which have been associated with increased rates of Osteoporosis. It also causes greater calcium depletion throughout the body. Lastly, sugar raises cortisol levels, which is a stress hormone also associated with Osteoporosis.
If you're really craving something sweet, eat a piece of fruit. When you do indulge in chocolate choose darker varieties because these contain less sugar.
3. Reduce Caffeine
Many studies have shown that caffeine can affect bone density. It causes large amounts of calcium to leave the body via urine. The solution is to reduce the number of caffeinated beverages you consume each day. Try replacing them with noncaffeinated drinks.
This also means you should stay away from soda and energy drinks. While these may not necessarily contain caffeine, they often contain other stimulants, as well as a load of sugar.
4. Follow A Balanced Diet
You have probably heard it many times before, but a balanced diet is the best way to maximize your health, including your bone health. Try and incorporate fruits, vegetables, and protein into every meal. The best protein sources are lean meat, fish, nuts, and seeds.
Try to limit highly processed foods. These include cereals, processed meats, and sugary and starchy snacks.
5. Take Your Vitamins
Even if you're eating the right foods, it's still possible to experience vitamin deficiencies. This can have a major impact on bone health. Vitamin D is especially important. It helps the body absorb nutrients, including calcium. While you can get vitamin D from a variety of sources, including eggs and seafood, a supplement may be necessary if you are not getting out in the sun for at least 15 minutes each day.
Studies have also shown that vitamin K is very important for bone health. When enough is present calcium absorption is improved while its exertion is reduced. The best sources are green vegetables like broccoli and spinach.
Sometimes, even people on good diets can accidentally miss out on certain vitamins. That's why taking a multi-vitamin every day is the easiest way to assure you're getting enough of each type.
6. Go Easy on Alcohol
Heavy alcohol consumption can interfere with your bone's ability to absorb calcium. On top of this, it has many other negative consequences for your health. Drinking in moderation is fine (a glass of wine or a couple of beers) but try not to overdo it.
If you can, just leave the alcohol on the shelf. Limit its consumption to special occasions, and you would have done not just your bones but your whole body a favor
7. Incorporate Resistance Exercises
An effective exercise regime is excellent for your bones and your entire body. If you're capable, try incorporating some light resistance training into your routine. Simple body weight exercises, such as squats, sit-ups, and pushups, can be highly effective. If you don’t have any weights at home, you can lift some light objects such as bottles of water or soup cans.
Obviously, everyone has different abilities. It's best to talk to a doctor or senior fitness professional to get tailored advice on which exercises are appropriate for your situation.
8. Don't Forget Cardio
Walking, swimming, aerobics, and cycling have been shown to have extremely positive effects on bone density. Try and do one of these activities 3+ times per week. Initially, you may feel tired and sore, but don't give up. After a few weeks, your body will become accustomed to the load. You will also feel great and experience improved fitness and other all-around health benefits.
9. Visit A Doctor
There are many doctors who specialize in health problems for seniors. They are often a wealth of knowledge and can provide tailored advice to help you improve bone density. Pay a visit to one and see how they can help you. They can help you improve your diet, exercise routine, and other habits, that can greatly improve your bones.
10. Consider Medication
In some situations, medication may be appropriate to combat the onset of Osteoporosis. Bisphosphonates are the most common form of medication prescribed. Studies have shown they slow the breakdown of bone structure caused by aging. Again, talk to your doctor, to find out if they are appropriate for you.
11. Make A Plan
To improve your bone density, you need to plan how you're going to achieve it. Discuss your goals with your doctor and write down what modifications you're going to make to your diet and follow through with them. If you intend to take up more exercise, also discuss you will need to schedule when you're going to do it and what you’re going to do.
12. Start Now!
Don't put off changes until tomorrow. A day can turn into a week, then a month, then a year. Start incorporating methods, to improve your bone density, today. By starting now, you can gradually improve your health over the coming months and years.
Hopefully, you are now much better informed about the ways to maximize your bone health. These will lead to many benefits in the future, such as reduced risk of injury and increased mobility.