Do you want to know how to increase bone density and why it is important? We need strong bones to support us and allow us to move. They protect the brain, heart and other major organs from injury. They also retain minerals including calcium and phosphorus, which help keep bones strong and healthy.
We reach our “peak” bone mass in the late 20s and we start to lose bone strength as we age. In particular, postmenopausal women may become more prone osteoporosis. Strong bones and muscles reduce the risk of injury and improve balance and coordination.
Nutrition Consultant Jenna Hope says: “Maintaining high bone density is essential to reduce the risk of age-related bone diseases such as osteoporosis, which occurs when bones become weak, brittle and prone to fractures. If we have low bone mineral density, we have an increased risk of bone fractures later in life. We will also be more prone to pain and posture disorders due to brittle and weak bones ”.
Exercise – especially weight training – can help increase bone density, as well as a diet rich in vitamins, protein and calcium.
According to National Osteoporosis Foundation, about 10 million Americans have osteoporosis and another 44 million have low bone density. Fortunately, no matter how old we are, there are many things we can do to prevent bone loss and even create new ones.
Try strength training
We all know that lifting weights is good for muscle development, but did you know that it also helps increase bone density? Studies have shown that lifting weights and strength training can promote new bone growth and maintain existing bone structure.
“Lifting weights is a brilliant lifestyle factor that can help maintain long-term bone health as it stimulates constant bone turnover. As a result, regular weight lifting can promote the development of new bone, which in turn allows the bones to strengthen, ”says Hope.
Strength training can be especially beneficial for postmenopausal women, a 2003 study Medical Journal of Postgraduate Students found. The women underwent a 12-month strength training program and saw a “significant increase” in bone density in the spine and thighs – areas that usually suffer from osteoporosis.
Eat foods rich in vitamin C.
If you want to increase bone density, vitamin C plays an important role in the production of collagen, which in turn promotes bone strength. “Conversely, lifestyle factors such as stress, lack of physical activity, high caffeine and alcohol consumption, and smoking can contribute to poor bone health,” Hope says.
She adds: “Vitamin C is abundant in fruits and vegetables, and consuming five servings of fruits and vegetables a day is enough to get the recommended 40 mg per day. Vitamin C is soluble in water, and therefore, if you take large doses as a supplement, the body will excrete extra vitamin C, which is not required.
Foods rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits, peppers, strawberries, kiwis, black currants, broccoli, brussels sprouts and potatoes.
Increase your calcium
Calcium is the most important nutrient for bone health, and it is very important that people get enough from their diet or in the form of supplements. The recommended upper limit of calcium is 2,500 mg per day for adults (19 to 50 years). For 51+ the limit is 2000 mg per day.
“Calcium along with phosphorus promotes the production of the mineral hydroxyapatite, which provides strength and bone density. Low calcium levels are difficult to determine because 99% of calcium is stored in the bones, and when blood levels drop, calcium is excreted from the bone into the bloodstream. As a result, low calcium levels can often be masked and thus can increase the risk of low bone mineral density, ”says Hope.
She adds: “Although calcium is particularly important, it cannot work without vitamin D and vitamin K. Vitamin D allows calcium to be absorbed into the blood, and vitamin K acts as a carrier that helps transport calcium to the bones. As a result, ensuring calcium intake along with vitamin D and vitamin K is key to bone health.
Calcium can be found in dairy products, dairy alternatives, nuts (such as almonds), tofu and green leafy vegetables. It is generally recommended to supplement with 10 mcg of vitamin D during the winter months and to ensure a sufficient, safe stay in the sun during the summer months. Vitamin K can be found in green leafy vegetables and soy products such as natto ”.
Avoid low calorie diets
Extreme diets, especially low-calorie ones, can lead to a variety of health problems, including loss of bone density.
“Eating a low-calorie diet can increase the risk of weakened bones because there are fewer opportunities to get adequate nutrients to maintain bone health. Thus, ensuring a healthy diet, rich in energy and nutrients, is key to maintaining long-term bone health, ”says Hope.
Healthy weight is also important for bone density. If you are underweight, you will have a higher risk of developing bone disease, and if you are overweight, you will create extra stress for your bones. Yo-yo diet – rapid weight loss and gain – also has a bad effect on bone density. If you lose weight, you are likely to lose bone density, but if you gain weight, bone density will not be along with that, which means weaker bones and an increased risk of fractures associated with osteoporosis.
Eat more protein
Want to know how to increase bone density? Eat more protein, Hope advises. “Protein helps maintain bone structure and strength. People over the age of 65 can benefit from increased protein intake and participation in safe regular weight training to optimize bone health and reduce the risk of falls and fractures, ”she says.
“Full of proteins (the ones that contain all nine) essential amino acids) can be found in many sources of animal origin such as meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. Protein can also be found in plant sources, but complete plant proteins can be difficult to find. Therefore, those who are on a vegan or plant-based diet should make sure that they consume different plant sources, it is very important to get different amino acids – the building blocks of protein. Sources of plant protein include beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, soy products and whole grains.
“Proteins can also be found in smaller amounts in some vegetables such as broccoli and spinach,” Hope says.
Todd, JA (2003, June 1). Osteoporosis and exercise. Medical Journal of Postgraduate Students. Checked April 29, 2022 with https://pmj.bmj.com/content/79/932/320
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