Did you know that your bone mass density peaks at 30? Strong bones are important to help us move and support our bodies. Without them, it would be difficult to do the things we love. Eating a balanced diet, being active, and not smoking or drinking excessively helps keep our bones strong and healthy.
What are Osteopenia and Osteoporosis?
Our bones are constantly reforming all the time with new bone being formed and old bone being reabsorbed. Sometimes we can lose too much bone, make not enough new bone, or both. Osteopenia is when bone loss is significant. The bones are weakened leading to a higher risk of fractures. When bone loss is more severe this is called osteoporosis.
Calcium and vitamin D are the two most vital micronutrients in maintaining bone health. Calcium builds bone while vitamin D helps with calcium absorption. Good sources of calcium can be found in dairy products, dark leafy greens, and products fortified with calcium. Dairy is the best source of calcium. A cup of yogurt has about 450 mg of calcium and a cup of 2% milk has about 300 mg. Broccoli is another great vegetable source with about 180 in one cup. 1000 mg of calcium daily is recommended.
Vitamin D can be found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. Your body can also produce Vitamin D from sunlight if you spend 15 minutes outside. It’s also important to have adequate protein, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus intake. These minerals help build new bone and the absorption of calcium. Eating a diverse and balanced diet with all food groups will ensure you will get all the necessary nutrients.
In addition to getting enough nutrients, you can increase or maintain your bone strength with being active. The best activities are resistance training and weight-bearing exercises like running, jump roping, hiking, jogging, and dancing. Weight-bearing exercises are great because they stimulate bone remodeling to keep your bones strong!
Bone health is important at all stages of your life, whether you are young or old. You can take steps now to build your bone density or help sustain what you already have. Osteoporosis or osteopenia may not be completely preventable due to genetics and other factors. But you can lower the risk by being active, having a balanced diet, and not drinking and smoking excessively.