Related Topics: Osteoporosis

How You Can Improve Your Bone Health

Did you know how many factors can influence you having good, strong bones? Check these to see where you might be going wrong.

AnnA Rushton

Sadly weakened bones, or osteopenia/osteoporosis, can occur at any age but is certainly more common at peri/menopause.

If you want to build up your bones then these simple changes might make all the difference.

1 Reduce your salt

The more salt you eat, the more calcium your body gets rid of, which means it’s not there to help your bones.

Foods like breads, cheeses, chips, and cold cuts have some of the highest salt amounts so always check labels, especially on pre-prepared meals.

You don’t have to cut salt out entirely, but aim for less than 2,300 milligrams a day.

2 Get off the couch!

In winter we want to snuggle down, maybe watch a good movie but if box sets are something you binge on then your poor bones are not getting enough exercise.

Exercise makes them stronger and it’s best for your skeleton when your feet and legs carry the weight of your body, which forces your bones and muscles to work against gravity.

So good are dancing, tai chi, walking, running and going for a hike. Anything that keeps you on your feet and moving and make it something you enjoy so you will stick with it.

3 The benefits of being outdoors

The body makes vitamin D in sunlight, even in winter. Just 10-15 minutes several times a week could do it but in summer do limit your exposure.

Too much time in the sun can raise your risk of skin cancer and ironically sunscreen will block vitamin D absorption so get the balance right for your bones sake.

If you don’t get out enough then get vitamin D from a supplement or from fortified cereals, juices, and milks (including almond, soy, rice, or other plant-based milks, as well as low-fat dairy) to your diet.

4 Enjoy a drink, but in moderation

When you’re out with friends, one more round might sound like fun. But to keep bone loss in check, you should limit the amount of alcohol you drink.

No more than one drink a day for women and two for men is recommended. Alcohol can interfere with how your body absorbs calcium.

5 Treat carbonated drinks with caution

Too many cola-flavoured sodas could harm your bones. While more research is needed, some studies have linked bone loss with both the caffeine and the phosphorous in these beverages.
Other experts have suggested that the damage comes when you choose to have a soda instead of milk or other drinks that contain calcium.  Too many cups of coffee or tea can also rob your bones of calcium.

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7. Bowls of Wheat Bran With Milk

What sounds healthier than 100% wheat bran? But when you eat it with milk, your body absorbs less calcium.

Don’t worry about other foods, like bread, that might contain wheat bran. But if you’re a fan of the concentrated stuff and you take a calcium supplement, allow at least 2 hours between the bran and your pill.

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8. Smoke Breaks

When you regularly inhale cigarette smoke, your body can’t form new healthy bone tissue as easily. The longer you smoke, the worse it gets.

Smokers have a greater chance of breaks and take longer to heal. But if you quit, you can lower these risks and improve your bone health, though it might take several years.

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9. Your Prescriptions

Some medications, especially if you have to take them for a long time, can have a negative impact on your bones. Some anti-seizure drugs and glucocorticoids, like prednisone and cortisone, can cause bone loss. You might take anti-inflammatory drugs like glucocorticoids if you have conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, asthma, and Crohn’s disease.

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10. Being Underweight

A low body weight, a BMI of 18.5 or less, means a greater chance of fracture and bone loss. If you’re small-boned, do weight-bearing exercises and ask your doctor if you need more calcium in your diet. If you’re not sure why you’re underweight, ask your doctor about that, too. She can check to see if an eating disorder or another medical condition is the reason.

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11. If You Take a Tumble

When you tripped as a child, you probably got right back up again. As you get older, though, falls get more dangerous, especially if you have weak bones.

A fracture or broken bone can take a long time to heal. In older adults, it can often be the start of a decline that’s hard to come back from. Walk easier at home with safety features like grab bars and non-slip mats. Clear the clutter from your path, indoors and out, to avoid a misstep.

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