What comes to your mind when you hear the word, “bones”? The skeleton from Biology class, right? Yeah, us too. We are all built on the base of these calcium-rich parts of our body that allow us to move freely. Well, remember how we were forced to gulp down a big tumbler of milk by our mothers, claiming that “It will be good for your bones”? As it happens to be, she was right all along.
What Is Bone density?
So, what really is bone density? Our bones are made up of several living tissues that keep getting destroyed and rebuilt over time. As we grow, the mass of minerals presents inside bones starts to decrease, leading to something called “lower bone density” in humans. In other words, bone density is the amount of bone mineral in bone tissue. Our bones are also the strongest and sturdiest parts of our body, but before we really get into that, let’s first, gather some facts about them:
- Bone density changes over time and never stops changing
- As a person enters their late 20s, they have reached their peak bone mass. As they age, bones may lose their density
- Women become more prone to lower bone density after menopause
- Lower bone density can lead to osteoporosis, which is when bones can break easily
How to Increase Your Bone Density
The question that now arises is, can you increase your bone density? The answer is… yes! You can definitely increase your bone density, and there are many ways of doing so. Though we all like short-cuts, and consuming calcium supplements is one of them, it’s always best to follow more natural methods. To this end, we have compiled a few tips on how you can naturally increase your bone density.
Food for Your bones
The very best way to increase your bone density is to eat things that will help you do so. That’s why it’s so important to know about the superfoods that are good for your bones, which will allow you to avoid a visit to an orthopedic specialist. Here’s what you should be eating:
1. Eat and Drink Dairy
Dairy is our best friend when it comes to bones and bone health. After all, dairy products are full of calcium and vitamins that are good for bone density. In fact, the National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends 1,000 mg of calcium every day for adults under 50, and 1,200 mg for those 50 and over. That’s why consumption of Milk, Cheese, Paneer, and Yogurt is recommended in Indian diets to strengthen our bones.
2. Eat Your Greens and Your Nectar
Fruits and vegetables are also good for your bones. Add calcium-rich greens like kale, spinach, broccoli, ladyfingers, and bell pepper, and others like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and turnips, which are all full of magnesium. As for fruits, you have many options like raisins, oranges, papaya, bananas, grapefruit, and pineapple.
3. Don’t Forget to Eat Your Seeds and Nuts
We may underestimate the capability of seeds and nuts, but amazingly they are nutrition-rich and can also be beneficial for our bone density. For example, poppy, sesame, celery, and chia seeds are high in calcium, with an average amount of 120 mg of calcium per spoon. Nuts like almonds, walnuts and peanuts are also packed with omega-3 fatty acids and proteins that are good for bones.
Amp Up Your Lifestyle
It’s not just about what you eat, but also what you do. To help you out a bit, here are some activities you should be doing to strengthen your bones and improve their density:
Studies have shown that a few minutes of daily running can have a big impact on our bone cells, thus improving bone density. Even if you don’t have the time for full run, going on a quick jog every morning and/or night can be very good for you, so get going!
2. Lift and Dance
Dig out your old gym membership card and try some weightlifting and strength training, as studies have shown these are good ways of increasing your bone density. Dancing to some good beats will also increase the weight of your bones through your muscles, thus increasing bone density.
3. Sun Yourself
Smaller intake of vitamin D will obstruct prevent your bones from absorbing calcium from food. That’s why it’s important to keep a tab on your vitamin D. 400-800IU of vitamin D daily for adults under 50, and 800-1,000IU for older adults is recommended by experts. Apart from what you eat, 5-10 minutes of daily sun exposure can give you exactly what you need.
A Few Don’ts for Healthy Bones
And now get to the part where we cover what you should not be doing if you want bones with optimal density:
1. Say No to Soda
Soda is many people’s favorite beverage to indulge in while eating some snacks, but it is actually one of the most harmful things for your bone density. Next time you’re thinking about enjoying a cola, say no and opt for some refreshing water or delicious cold-pressed juice!
2. Ditch the Cigarettes
Smoking cigarettes is very harmful for your body. Not only does it mess with your lungs, but also with your bones and their density. In other words, they are a total NO.
3. Mind Your Sips
It’s always recommended to control your alcohol intake. Experts recommend not to consume more than 1-2 alcoholic drinks per day, as it can easily turn your bones fragile and prone to fractures and bone breakage.
4. Lower Your Caffeine Intake
Though most of us love our morning cup of hot coffee, would you drink as much it if I tell you that it negatively affects your bone density? Higher consumption of caffeine can actually affect the intestinal calcium absorption of our body. So next time you put your hand on your steaming cup of coffee, think twice.
In a Nutshell
Our bones are the basic structure of our bodies. It’s very important to think about their health and keep them as healthy as possible. Get your bone density checked from time-to-time, exercise regularly, eat calcium and vitamin-rich foods, and refrain from harmful stuff like smoking and drinking (too much). Considering that an Indian food diet is already rich in calcium and proteins, it shouldn’t be too hard to keep your bone density in good shape. Best of luck!