Your bones do so much more for your body than provide structure. They also give protection to your organs. Bones do other wonderful things for your body. Did you know that blood cells are produced in your bone marrow? Not only that, but your bones help store and release certain minerals to help keep us healthy. Your bones are continuously changing, old bone is broken down and new bone is made. Keeping them healthy is very important.
Some people think all that you need to do to have healthy bones is drink milk. That is a myth. To keep your bones healthy, you need a balanced diet, regular exercise, vitamins, and more.
There are many things that can affect your bone health. Just a few of them are:
Physical Activity- Regular weight-bearing exercises like walking, jogging, or weight training can slow bone loss and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a condition where your bones become fragile and brittle. As always, make sure that you check with your provider before starting any type of exercise routine.
Tobacco Use- Smoking cessation is very important for not only lung health but overall health. The nicotine in cigarettes can slow the production of bone-building cells and reduces how well your body can absorb calcium which is important for strong bones. Smoking can also lead to increased levels of certain hormones like cortisol, which can lead to the breakdown of bones.
Diet, Vitamins, and Minerals- Calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin K are very important for bone health. Eating foods rich in calcium like low-fat dairy or green leafy vegetables can help you make sure that you are getting enough calcium. If you are not able to get the recommended amount of calcium for your age and gender talk to your provider or pharmacist about supplements.
Making sure that you have enough vitamin D is also important. Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium. You can get vitamin D from foods like fish, orange juice, and egg yolks, as well as exposure to sunlight. Check with your provider that you are not on any medications that may cause sensitivity to sunlight, and make sure that you use sunscreen to protect your skin. Your provider may also prescribe vitamin D supplements if your levels are low.
Vitamin K also supports bone health. You can find vitamin K in foods like green leafy vegetables, and some fruits like blueberries and blackberries. Foods rich in Vitamin K may interact with certain blood thinners so check with your provider before making any diet changes.
Adequate calorie intake is also important for making and keeping strong bones. A diet very low in calories can lead to lower bone density which can lead to an increased risk for fractures. Talk to your health care provider about the proper number of calories that you should be taking in each day.
Sex/Age/Nationality- As we age, things within our body naturally begin to change. Generally, your bones become thinner and weaker as you age. Women, as well as people of Caucasian and Asian backgrounds, are at greater risk for osteoporosis. It is important for everyone, no matter age, gender, or nationality to begin taking steps to improve bone health as young as possible and continue for the rest of their lives.
Medications- Ask your doctor or pharmacist if any of the medications that you are taking can impact your bone health. Many individuals with COPD take steroids in some form or another. Because steroids can affect how your body uses calcium and vitamin D in bone building, it is important to take steps to help your body build strong bones.
Let’s chat! What are some things that you do to maintain healthy bones?