As we get older our bones lose density and mass, which means your bones become more fragile, your height can decrease, your posture can change and your joints can become stiff, causing you to lose flexibility. Because the human body reaches peak bone mass by the age of 30, it is extremely important to take care of your bones. Here are some nutrition and lifestyle habits that can help you maintain strong and healthy bones as you age.
Eat lots of vegetables
Vegetables are a great source of vitamin C, which can stimulate the production of bone forming cells. In addition, some studies have shown that vitamin C’s antioxidant effects may protect bone cells from damage. In fact, a diet that’s rich in green and yellow vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, and yellow squash, has been linked to increased bone mineralization during childhood and help maintain bone mass in young adults.
Perform strength-training and weight-bearing exercises
Being active and getting plenty of exercise is an important component to help keep your bones strong. The two types of physical fitness activities that best promote bone health include weight-bearing and strength-training exercises. Weight-bearing exercises such as running, hiking, dancing, stair-climbing, elliptical machines and walking rely on your body weight to give you a good workout. Strength-training exercises include lifting weights, Pilates, squats, push-ups and pull-ups to strengthen your muscles and your body.
Don’t smoke or vape
Many people aren’t aware that smoking and vaping has a direct effect on your bones. When you smoke, the nicotine in cigarettes and vapes causes free radicals to develop. These molecules can attack your body’s natural defenses and directly affect the hormones that work to keep your bones healthy. Smoking also affects your body’s ability to absorb calcium, which can lead to lower bone density and weaker bones. For information on how to quit smoking, visit the American Lung Association’s “How to Quit Smoking” page.
Get plenty of vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for building strong and healthy bones, as it helps your body absorb calcium. When your body’s vitamin D levels are insufficient, your body can’t produce enough calcitriol (a natural hormone), preventing your body from absorbing calcium and keeping your bones strong. While it’s no secret that the most effective way to get vitamin D is through the sun, a diet high in calcium-rich foods can also deliver a healthy dose of vitamin D. Here are a couple calcium-rich foods to start incorporating into your diet:
- Beans and lentils
You have only one set of bones in your lifetime — make sure you take proper care of them to keep them so you can maintain a healthy lifestyle as you age. Incorporating some of these simple lifestyle changes will help keep your bones strong and healthy.
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