Although osteoporosis is due, in large part, to a genetic factor, bone health is something that we must all bear in mind. The skeletal system is something we easily take for granted when healthy. However, there can be dire consequences if diet, lifestyle, and posture advice is ignored. The most important aspect of keeping your skeletal system healthy is eating the parts of your diet that you need. However, your work doesn't end there. To make sure you don't have problems with your skeletal system in the future, you need to pay attention to your bones in the present.
Part 1 of 2: Adjusting Your Diet
Step 1. Eat foods and drinks that are high in calcium
Adults should consume 1000 mg of calcium per day. Calcium is the most important mineral for maintaining bone health, as bones use calcium to stay strong and avoid becoming brittle. Men over 50 and women over 70 need more calcium - 1,200 mg per day.
- Foods high in calcium include dairy products, broccoli, salmon, green leafy vegetables, soy products, and cheese.
- Remember that you should not consume more than 2000 mg of calcium per day. Side effects of calcium supplements include constipation, indigestion, and an increased risk of kidney stones.
Step 2. Get plenty of vitamin D
Scientists are still trying to figure out how much vitamin D is optimal in a diet, but remember that you should consume at least 600 IU (international units) per day. Healthy teens and adults can consume up to 4,000 IU per day. The main way to accomplish this is to expose yourself to sunlight. If you can't get in the sun, talk to your doctor about other ways to get vitamin D. The use of vitamin D supplements is controversial, so your doctor may be able to provide specific advice on this.
This does not mean that you should tan, which is very unhealthy for your skin and could cause cancer. It only takes 15 minutes to get enough vitamin D, depending on your skin type and where you live
Step 3. Eat a healthy diet high in manganese, zinc, and copper
A healthy diet includes a balance of lean protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Small amounts of these elements have been discovered in bones. Also, there are foods that you can consume to increase your levels of manganese, zinc and copper.
- Foods high in manganese include walnuts, shellfish, dark chocolate, soybeans, and sunflower seeds.
- Beef, shellfish, and peanuts are foods high in zinc.
- Copper is prevalent in foods such as squid, lobster, sun-dried tomatoes, and oysters.
Step 4. Drink at least 8 glasses of clean water every day
The body needs to hydrate to be healthy. Hydration benefits your entire body, especially your organs and joints. It has also been found to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
The amount of fluids your body needs depends on several factors. However, women should have about 9 glasses a day and men 13. Drinking 8 glasses of water on a particular day is a good thing, but strive to consume more fluids
Step 5. Avoid excessive amounts of harmful substances
Salt, sodas, carbonated drinks, caffeine, and hydrogenated oils should be consumed in moderation, as it is public knowledge that these elements decrease the calcium content in bones. They also have many other disadvantages to your health, which is why they are best avoided in most situations.
You should consume a maximum of 5000 IU of vitamin A per day. In order to avoid consuming too much vitamin A, eat fewer eggs or consume only the whites, start consuming low-fat or fat-free dairy products, and check the concentration of vitamin A in your multivitamin supplements
Step 6. Get the right amount of vitamin A
This compound is important for bone growth. However, if you consume too much of it, it could contribute to the loss of bone material. Men in adolescence and adulthood should consume approximately 3,000 IU of vitamin D and women in these same age ranges, about 2,310 IU.
For reference, 30 grams (1 ounce) of chedar cheese contains approximately 300 IU of vitamin A and a cup of whole milk, 500 IU
Part 2 of 2: Making Lifestyle Changes to Support Bone Health
Step 1. Get enough exercise
Regularly do weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, stair climbing, cycling, and lifting weights. Regular exercise should include approximately 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week. Bones benefit from occasional stress, such as weight bearing exercises, because without stress they lose calcium. The bones will get stronger the more you use them.
Some studies have shown that sedentary lifestyles are harmful to bone health, as people do not get the exercise their bodies need. Also, because sitting too much time is bad for the spine, both are detrimental situations
Step 2. Try to sleep for at least 8 hours each night
Sufficient sleep is important for bone health, as the body repairs broken down tissues while you sleep. Make sure you sleep in a position that helps your spine stay straight. If you prefer to sleep on your side, place a pillow between your knees to keep your spine aligned. If you prefer to sleep on your back, put a pillow under your knees.
All bodies require a different type of mattress, so you should try a few before deciding on one in particular. Try not to buy one that is firm enough to create pressure points, as this will cause back pain
Step 3. Develop good posture
This is a point that not many people take into consideration. There are simple ways to improve posture when sitting, standing, lying down, and standing up. You will be surprised how straight your back will feel after a few days keeping your spine aligned.
- While sitting, lie on the backrest with your spine straight. Keep your knees at a 90 degree angle and your feet flat on the ground. Get up and move around a little, at least every 30 minutes.
- When lifting objects, squat down with your spine straight instead of leaning forward. Lift the weight from your knees and not your back. Avoid twisting and jerking movements.
- Most people have less trouble standing up with good posture. Make sure you don't hunch over and try to keep your spine straight.
Step 4. Avoid smoking and drinking excessively
Nicotine and alcohol weaken bones and make them more brittle by depleting their calcium content. Going to bed after drinking will prevent your body from going through the sleep cycles necessary for full rest. This could cause you to have poor posture when sleeping or to toss and turn, which is bad for your skeletal system.
Step 5. Ask your doctor to help you with prevention
If you have osteoporosis or are at risk of developing it, you should ask your doctor for help to prevent or treat it. Tell him about your bone health concerns and if he or she thinks taking nutritional supplements is necessary. Keep your doctor up-to-date on any occurrences and mention the condition of your bones in your annual physical exam.