Bones form the basis of life as we know it in our bodies. They give us shape, help us stand tall, and hold everything in place. It is important to give them as much love and attention as we can. Through diet and exercise, you can make your best nutritionist bones bigger and stronger.
Definition of osteoporosis
Osteoporosis, or porous bone, is a condition where the body’s bones become weak and brittle. When healthy, the body completely removes and creates new bone tissue. In osteoporosis, the body is getting rid of bone tissue faster than it can make
more. This leads to bones that look vulnerable and an increased chance of fracture.
Diet for bone health
The foods you eat every day can have a big impact on your bone health. Some of the best foods to eat regularly are fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds, low-fat dairy, and fish.
Fruits: papaya, orange, raisin, banana, plantain, prune, grapefruit, strawberry, pineapple…
Vegetables: Spinach, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, broccoli, potatoes, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts…
Beans: Chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, lima beans, black-eyed peas…
Whole grains: oats, brown rice, barley, millet, bulgur, buckwheat…
Nuts and seeds: Almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, Brazil nuts…
Dairy products: low-fat or non-fat yogurt, milk and cheese
Fish: Canned sardines, salmon, mackerel and tuna
In the interest of bone health, it’s important to note that there are certain foods that can affect your efforts to build strong bones. Limiting your salt intake, moderating your alcohol and caffeine intake, and limiting your consumption of soft drinks are some additional recommendations.
Exercise for bone health
Bones get bigger, stronger, and denser the more demands you put on them. If you don’t engage in an activity that puts stress on your bones, they don’t get the message that they need to get stronger. People who do not exercise are at risk of developing bone mass or density. When you engage in weight-bearing exercise, your brain sends a chemical message to your bones that tells them to be ready to handle the weight and impact.
There are two types of exercise health care professional that are important for building and maintaining bone mass and density: weight-bearing and resistance exercises.
Weight lifting exercise
Weight-bearing exercises are those that work your body against gravity, such as running, walking, stair climbing, dancing and tennis. These are exercises in which your feet and legs are bearing your weight. Every time your foot hits the ground, you put stress on your bones, which respond by maintaining or sometimes increasing their strength, which can be measured by an increase in bone mineral density. The higher the contact impact of the activity, the more your bones will benefit. Therefore, weight-bearing exercises such as running or jumping are more beneficial for your bone health than light weight-bearing exercises such as walking. Swimming and cycling are not weight-bearing, although they are excellent aerobic exercises.
To maintain the bone-strengthening benefits of weight-bearing exercise, you need to continue exercising regularly for the long term. The benefit wears off if you stop exercising. Experts recommend 30 minutes of weight-bearing exercise daily to maintain bone health.
Another type of exercise that is important for bone health is resistance exercises, which are used to increase muscle strength and strengthen bones. These activities include weightlifting, such as using free weights and weight machines at your local gym. Adding resistance training for 30 minutes per session, 2 or 3 days a week, helps maintain healthy bones.
5 Tips for Strong Bones
When sitting for long periods, stand for 5 minutes every hour.
Walk and stand as often as possible during your daily activities.
Try to stand as straight as possible, lifting the head towards the ceiling.
Wear soft-soled shoes and thick socks to reduce the impact on weight-bearing joints.
Avoid bending from the waist when lifting to get things off the floor or low places. Bend with your knees instead. Keep your back straight while bending over.
You don’t have to join a gym or pay a personal trainer to stay physically active. Starting with these tips can help strengthen your bones. Once you feel confident, you can start building a regular exercise routine.
Eating well and getting some daily exercise are the keys to unlocking optimal bone health. The more often you make this choice, the more natural it will feel. Be patient and remember, health is a journey.
Bonnie R. Giller is a Registered and Certified Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator.