If you worry about the strength of your bones and want to make sure that they stay strong, then there are several important ways to improve your bone health that you may want to think about. As a woman who has a family history of osteopenia and osteoporosis, I have also worried about my bone strength; therefore, keeping my bones healthy and strong has always been a top priority for me! As I am sure you already know, calcium and Vitamin D are major components necessary for bone health, but there are a few more ways to improve your bone health to keep in mind as well!
1. Increase Your Dairy Consumption
Calcium and dairy are often the first things that come mind when thinking about ways to improve your bone health. If you have no issues with dairy, adding yummy foods like yogurt, cheese and milk to your diet is a tasty way to increase your calcium consumption. Calcium is an essential mineral for your teeth, bones, muscle functioning, nerve signaling, hormone secretion and blood pressure, but adding dairy rich foods alone won’t drastically improve your bone health.
2. Don’t Forget Your Greens
If you are like me and unable to tolerate dairy in your diet, it may seem like a challenge to get enough calcium through supplements alone. Fortunately, there are many non-dairy calcium rich foods like broccoli, spinach, kale and Swiss chard, which are also some of my favorite vegetables to eat! Making these important greens a part of your daily diet can help you to get you another step closer to achieving better bone health.
3. The Sunshine Vitamin
I’ll take any excuse to spend a little extra time outdoors and believe it or not, getting 10 to 15 minutes of sunshine three times per week can produce Vitamin D and help improve your bone health. Unfortunately, many of us can’t rely on sunshine alone to produce enough Vitamin D, so make sure your diet is full of foods like shrimp, sardines, egg yolks and tuna. If those foods don’t call out to your taste buds, a Vitamin D supplement is a good addition to ensure your body is getting enough of that sunshine vitamin to keep your bones strong.
4. Start Pumping That Iron
Weight-bearing exercises are a very important component when it comes to improving your bone health, as well as your overall health in general. Many of our days are spent sitting at a desk, or sitting on a couch, so try to make exercise a part of your daily schedule. Try lifting weights, running, walking, skipping rope, and stair climbing to keep your bones strong and healthy. A sedentary lifestyle has been shown to put you at a much greater risk for osteoporosis, so let’s get moving ladies!
5. The Link to Zinc
Zinc is the first thing that comes to mind when I get a cold, or keeping my acne breakouts under control, but zinc is also important for your bones. This essential mineral stimulates bone formation and can help decrease the rate at which your bones break down as you age. Sprinkling hemp seeds and pumpkin seeds - sources rich in zinc - on your salads and soups can help add flavor and crunch and are an easy way to help keep your bones in tip-top shape.
6. Limit Caffeine and Alcohol
Too much caffeine and alcohol can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb calcium. For women, drinking more than two cups of coffee daily or overdoing it on the alcoholic beverages can accelerate bone loss in individuals who were lacking sufficient calcium in their diet. Don’t worry, there is no need to cut out coffee or alcohol (thank goodness), but just keep moderation in mind when you’re sipping on your favorite drinks!
7. Understand Your Risks
Having a family history of osteopenia and osteoporosis puts you at a greater risk for developing the same conditions in the future, so do not shy away from asking your mother and grandmother how their bone density is! Understanding your risk factors may persuade you to pay a little more attention to keeping those bones healthy and strong!
Remembering these seven easy ways to improve your bone health might help you keep a leg up on developing osteopenia or osteoporosis as you age and could increase your overall health as well! What are some of the ways that you keep your bones healthy and strong? I’m always up for new tips and tricks!