Our bones support our body and allow us to move. They protect our brain, heart, and other organs from injury. All the more, we always hear of the importance of taking care of our bones and keep them healthy and strong.
Maintaining healthy bones as we age is extremely important in preventing debilitating conditions like fracture and osteoporosis. EHC peeps into some of the common unhealthy habits that damage the health of our bones.
Inadequate calcium intake
Calcium should be adequately consumed in your diet to keep your bones healthy and maintain normal blood calcium levels. When there is insufficient calcium in your body, the hypothyroid gland increases its secretion in order to maintain the right levels in the blood, and in doing so, removes calcium from your bones. This also happens during pregnancy and breastfeeding, which is why more calcium is required during these times.
Low sun exposure
The sun is one of the main sources of vitamin D in addition to cod liver oil and vitamin D-fortified milk. Vitamin D increases calcium and phosphorous absorption, enhances their uptake by the bones, and keeps their levels stable in the blood. A continued shortage of vitamin D can lead to osteoporosis in the future.
A sedentary lifestyle will quickly result in weak bones and eventual osteoporosis. Also, exercise increases calcium and phosphorous mineralization in bones, which in turn reduces the risk of developing weak bones. Avoid stress. At least walk 30 minutes daily.
Drinking too much caffeine
Excess caffeine consumption is associated with lower bone density. Caffeine causes your kidneys to excrete calcium from your body, lowering the amount of calcium available to the bones for rebuilding.
Smoking decreases bone mass, leads to osteoporosis and increases the risk of bone breakage.
Drinking carbonated beverages
There is a popular controversy focused on the content of phosphoric acid in carbonated beverages and its effect on bone health. However, recent studies have shown that with adequate calcium in a diet, the net effect of phosphoric acid on bones is negligible. The negative effect of drinking carbonate beverages and bone density is because they replace other healthier beverages like milk and fresh fruit juices.
Excessive salt in food
Sodium and calcium are excreted together from the body through the kidneys, so the more salt you add, the more it increases calcium loss.
While an occasional drink just fine, consistently drinking more than one to two drinks per week can lead to a loss of your bone mass over a year’s time. Alcohol interferes with the absorption of both calcium and vitamin D, both of which are necessary for bone formation. In addition excessive consumption of alcohol destroys osteoblasts, the bone making cells.
Research shows that incorporating healthy lifestyle habits, exercising regularly and exposure to the sun leads to healthy bones and a reduced risk of developing osteoporosis. To maintain your bone health, it is important to consider these. Following a diet rich in vitamins and minerals especially calcium, getting enough exposure to the sun (at least 20 minutes three times per week), exercising regularly, stopping smoking, avoiding carbonated beverages and reducing salt in your diet.
The Best Sources of Calcium
Milk and dairy products are the richest sources and have the highest absorption of calcium in your body. Other good sources are sardines, almonds and spinach which have a lower absorption of calcium as compared to dairy products.
Phosphorous is considered as one of the important minerals in building bones and teeth. Vitamins A and K also play a role in building proteins that bind with calcium and phosphorous in order to synthesize bones. Phosphorous is found in the same foods that are rich in calcium. Vitamin A is found in yellow-orange fruits and vegetables such as carrots and apricots, while the richest sources of vitamin K are green, leafy vegetables.
Do not go after the fad diets. Fad diets typically contain fewer calories. This in turn means less calcium and other essential nutrients needed for healthy bones.