5 Habits to Keep Your Bones Healthy

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Hint: it’s not just about milk

Man stretching before excercisingYour bones protect your organs, keep your muscles secure, and make up your body’s form. At any age, no matter if you are an athlete, active adult or older adult who wishes to enjoy a high quality of life, strong, healthy bones are a necessity.

Thomas Best, M.D., PhD, Research Director at University of Miami health System Sports Medicine Institute and Physician of the Miami Marlins and the University of Miami’s athletic teams, agrees, “Good bone health is critical to one’s quality of life and longevity. By exercising, most if not all days of the week, one can improve their bone health and reduce the risk of problems such as osteoporosis. Also, knowing one’s family history for bone conditions is important in recommendations for diet and exercise and even medications to avoid bone problems.”

Below are five healthy habits you can incorporate into your daily routine to help prevent osteoporosis (a bone disease that causes your bones to grow weak) and promote strong bones—with or without milk.

 

  1. Engage in Bone-Beneficial Exercises
    • Walking
    • Weight training
    • Back strengthening and balancing exercises such as Pilates or Yoga
  2. Learn about Bone-Building Nutrients
    • Calcium is found in many dairy foods and is essential to strong bones
    • Vitamin D increases your body’s calcium levels, which strengthens your bones
    • Vitamin K increases your body’s bone-building proteins
    • Soy Extract contains estrogen, which is beneficial for preventing bone loss in women
    • Magnesium helps make calcium absorption more effective
    • Boron, along with magnesium, builds firm and strong bones
  3. Focus on Bone-Friendly Foods
    • Fatty fish, Grass-fed dairy products, Egg yolk (rich in Vitamin D)
    • Leafy greens, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Onions, Okra, Asparagus, Green beans (rich in Vitamin K)
    • Soy, Spinach, Beans, Kale, Fish, Dairy (rich in Calcium)
    • Leafy greens, Nuts and seeds, Fish, Beans, Lentils, Brown rice (rich in Magnesium)
  4. Strong mental health means stronger bones
    The happier you are, the healthier your bones will be. Clinical depression raises cortisol levels in the body, which drain minerals from your bones and may cause bone density loss. Find ways to engage in activities that you enjoy and stimulate your happiness and mental well-being.
  5. Avoid Bone-Reducing Substances
    These substances may speed mineral loss from your bones or impede bone repair and rebuilding. Try reducing your intake or avoid them altogether, whenever possible:

    • Tobacco
    • Excessive alcohol
    • Soda /Soft Drinks
    • Some medications including corticosteroids and heartburn medication (it is best to check with your doctor for specific types of medicines to use or avoid).