Ageing takes a toll on all of us one way or another, especially on our bone structure.
Many people who seeking the healthy life focus only on what you can see and feel – body fat, aerobic fitness etc. But it’s incredibly important not to forget about the invisible core at the center of all of us that keeps us going.
While it can be easy to ignore while young and fit, skeletal health can make a big difference to your health, posture and mobility in later life.
The degradation of bone density is natural and unavoidable. But there are many smart and relatively simple measures we can take to protect and strengthen our skeletons while we are still fit and healthy.
Follow the five simple tips in this post and you will be well on your way to maintaining a healthy bone structure throughout your later life.
The old phrase “You are what you eat” is just as true for the health of your bones as it is for the rest of your body. The body constant renews itself, replacing your skin, muscles blood and bones constantly.
The renewal is essential chemical reactions, and these reactions will be determined by what chemicals (natural or artificial) you put into your body.
For example, simple sugars don’t only effect your bone structure by promoting tooth decay and the erosion of enamel. They can inhibit your body from absorbing the calcium you get as part of a healthy and balanced diet.
Simple sugars also deplete your body’s supply of phosphorus, which like calcium is key to promoting bone density.
A high intake of salty foods can also cause calcium to be lost through the kidneys. It would be a shame to comprise your calcium intake by eating inhibiting unhealthy foods.
If you have low levels of calcium in your blood, your body compensates by taking it from your bones, which comprises their strength. This is why it’s so important to maintain a healthy level of calcium to keep your skeleton strong and vital.
Most authoritative medical sources suggest taking in 12000 mg of calcium as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Luckily, there are plenty of delicious foods that are high in calcium and easy to work into your diet.
When we think of calcium we think of diary products such as milk, yogurt and cheese.
But vegetables such as kale and broccoli and fish such as salmon and sardines are also great for getting your recommend calcium intake (and taste great too!). These alternatives are perfect for the lactose intolerant or those looking to avoid diary products.
Sorry about this guys, but the affects of high-alcohol intake on the body are well documented (and something many of us are familiar with). Exceeding the recommended alcohol limit regularly will affect many bodily functions, but will also directly decrease your bone mass.
The increased risk of broken bones from drunken antics aside, too much alcohol will affect the amount of osteopaths cells in your body. Alcohol is toxic to these cells, whose main function is to synthesize new bone in the body.
It’s not only those vodka shots that could be harming your bone strength… Those morning shots of espresso can be unhelpful too. High amounts of caffeine has also been linked to calcium being drawn out of your bones. It can also erode the enamel on your teeth leading to unattractive yellow staining.
Cutting down alcohol and caffeine will benefit your body in many more ways than bone strength alone, so consider reigning it back just a little bit this weekend.
Even low levels of activity do wonders for bone strength, especially weight-bearing activities. Luckily this covers a wide range of fun and gentle exercise, so no need to be put off by long hard slogs at the gym.
These activities can include:
- Weight training
- Aerobics classes
Ideally you want to be getting in around 30 minutes of activity a day. This could be as simple as taking the stairs instead of using a lift in your office, or walking to town instead of taking the bus – every little helps!
You can be getting all the calcium in the world from your diet, but it won’t do you any good without vitamin D. It aids the absorption of calcium into the body, so is integral to the bone strengthening process.
Vitamin D is hard to take in from diet alone. Your best source is from sunlight on exposed skin, so make sure you get outside in the daylight as often as possible.
Vitamin D is also linked to mood, as we see in seasonal effective depression that can be exasperated by a vitamin D deficiency. So getting some sun will improve more than just your tan, but health and well-being too.
Your smile is one of your key outlets of expression into the world! Maintaining it won’t just improve your health and save you from tooth decay later in life, but help people perceive you in a more positive light.
Good oral hygiene and strong healthy teeth are easily taken for granted. But just like the bones on your interior, you won’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Take care of them now and you’ll save yourself much more on future dental care than you’d spend on oral hygiene.