Healthy Bones: Best 10 Natural Ways To Build Healthy Bones
10 Natural Ways To Build Healthy Bones
10 Natural Ways To Build Healthy Bones
Building healthy bones is extremely important.
Minerals are built into your bones during childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. When you turn 30, you will reach peak bone mass.
If not enough bone is formed during this time, or if bone loss occurs later in life, you are at increased risk of developing brittle bones that break easily ( 1 ).
Fortunately, many eating and lifestyle habits can help you build strong bones and keep them as you age.
Here are 10 natural ways to build healthy bones.
1. Eat lots of vegetables
Vegetables are great for your bones.
They are one of the best sources of vitamin C, which stimulates the production of bone-forming cells. In addition, some research suggests that the antioxidant effects of vitamin C may protect bone cells from damage ( 2 ).
Vegetables also increase bone mineral density, (Healthy Bones)also known as bone density.
Bone density is a measure of the amount of calcium and other minerals found in your bones. Both osteopenia (low bone mass) and osteoporosis (bone fragility) are conditions characterized by low bone density.
High consumption of green and yellow vegetables is associated with increased bone mineralization in childhood and maintenance of bone mass in young adults. 3 , 4 , 5 ).
Eating plenty of vegetables is also beneficial for older women.
A study of women over 50 found that people who ate onions had a 20% lower risk of osteoporosis than women who rarely ate them. 6 ).
One of the main risk factors for the development of osteoporosis in the elderly is increased blood supply to the bones, i.e. the process of destruction and formation of new bone. 7 ).
In a three-month study, women who ate more than nine meals of broccoli, cabbage, parsley, or other herbs that contain bone-protecting antioxidants experienced a decrease in bone metabolism. 8 ).
2. Do strength and weight exercises For Healthy Bones
Doing certain types of exercise can help you build and maintain strong bones.
One of the best activities for bone health is weight training or high strokes, which promote new bone formation.
Studies in children, including those with type 1 diabetes, have shown that this type of activity increases the amount of bone created during the years of greatest bone growth. 9 , 10 ).
In addition, it can be extremely helpful in preventing bone loss in the elderly.
Studies in older men and women who exercised with body weight have shown an increase in bone mineral density, bone strength and bone size, as well as a decrease in markers of bone metabolism and inflammation. 11 , 12 , 13 , 14 ).
However, one study showed a small improvement in bone density in older men who trained at the highest level of weight training for nine months. 15 ).
Strength training is not only good for increasing muscle mass. It may also help protect against bone loss in young and older women, including those with osteoporosis, osteopenia, or breast cancer. 16 , 17 , 18 , 19 , 20 ).
One study in men with low bone mass found that while both resistance training and resistance training increased bone density in some parts of the body, only resistance training had such an effect on the hip joint. 21 ).
3. Eat enough protein To Get Healthy Bones
Getting enough protein is important for healthy bones. In fact, about 50% of bones are made up of protein.
The researchers reported that low protein intake reduces calcium absorption and may affect the rate of bone formation and breakdown. 22 ).
However, concerns have been raised that a high-protein diet releases calcium from the bones to combat hyperacidity in the blood.
However, studies have shown that this does not happen in people who consume up to 100 grams of protein per day, if this is balanced with plenty of plant foods and adequate calcium intake. 23 , 24 ).
In fact, studies show that older women are more likely to have better bone density when consuming more protein. 25 , 26 , 27 ).
In a large six-year observational study of over 144,000 postmenopausal women, higher protein intake was associated with a lower risk of forearm fracture and significantly higher bone density in the hip, spine, and throughout the body ( 27 ).
In addition, a diet that contains a higher percentage of calories than protein can help maintain bone mass during weight loss.
In a one-year study, women who consumed 86 grams of protein per day on a calorie-restricted diet lost less bone mass in their arms, spine, hips, and legs compared to women who consumed 60 grams of protein per day. 28 ).
4. Eat foods high in calcium throughout the day.
Calcium is the most important mineral for bone health and the main mineral found in your bones.
Since old bone cells are constantly being broken down and replaced with new ones, it is important to consume calcium daily to protect bone structure and strength
The RDI for calcium is 1,000 mg per day for most people, although adolescents require 1,300 mg and older women 1,200 mg ( 29 ).
However, the amount of calcium your body actually absorbs can vary greatly.
Interestingly, if you eat food that contains more than 500 mg of calcium, your body will absorb much less calcium than if you consumed less.
So it’s best to increase your calcium intake throughout the day by including one high-calcium food from this list at every meal.
It is also best to get calcium from food rather than supplements.
A recent 10-year study of 1,567 people found that while high dietary calcium intake reduced overall risk of heart disease, those who supplemented with calcium had a 22% higher risk of heart disease. 30 ).
5. Get more vitamin D and vitamin K.
Vitamin D and vitamin K are extremely important for building strong bones.
Vitamin D plays several roles in bone health, including helping the body absorb calcium. Achieving blood levels of at least 30 ng/mL (75 nmol/L) is recommended to protect against osteopenia, osteoporosis, and other bone diseases ( 31 ).
Indeed, studies have shown that children and adults with low levels of vitamin D tend to have lower bone density and are more at risk of bone loss than people who get enough vitamin D. 32 , 33 ).
Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency is very common and affects about a billion people worldwide. 34 ).
You can get enough vitamin D from sun exposure and foods like oily fish, liver, and cheese. However, many people need up to 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily to maintain optimal levels.
Vitamin K2 supports bone health by modifying osteocalcin, a protein involved in bone formation. This modification allows osteocalcin to bind to minerals in the bones and helps prevent calcium loss from the bones.
The two most common forms of vitamin K2 are MK-4 and MK-7. MK-4 is found in small amounts in liver, eggs and meat. Fermented foods such as cheese, sauerkraut, and soy products called natto contain MK-7.
A small study of healthy young women found that MK-7 supplements increased blood levels of K2 more than MK-4. 35 ).
However, other studies have shown that supplementation with any form of vitamin K2 supports osteocalcin modification and increases bone density in postmenopausal children and postmenopausal women. 36 , 37 , 38 , 39 ).
In a study between the ages of 50 and 65, those who took MK-4 maintained bone density, while those in the placebo group experienced a significant decrease in bone density after 12 months. 39 ).
However, another 12-month study found no significant difference in bone loss between women who added natto to their diets and those who did not. 40 ).
6. Avoid a low-calorie diet
Reducing calories too low is never a good idea.
In addition to slowing down metabolism, relapses, and loss of muscle mass, it can also be detrimental to bone health.
Studies have shown that a diet providing less than 1,000 calories per day can lead to decreased bone density in people who are normal weight, overweight, or obese. 41 , 42 , 43 , 44 ).
In one study, obese women who consumed 925 calories a day for four months experienced significant loss of bone density in the hip and upper thigh, whether or not they engaged in strength training. 44 ).
To build and maintain strong bones, eat a well-balanced diet that provides at least 1,200 calories per day. It should contain plenty of protein and foods rich in vitamins and minerals that support bone health.
7. Consider Taking Collagen Supplements
While there isn’t much research on this yet, early evidence suggests that collagen supplements may help protect bone health.
Collagen is the main protein found in bones. It contains the amino acids glycine, proline, and lysine, which help build bones, muscles, ligaments, and other tissues.
Collagen hydrolate is derived from animal bones and is commonly known as gelatin. It has been used to relieve joint pain for many years.
While most research has examined the effects of collagen on joint conditions such as arthritis, it also has beneficial effects on bone health. 45 , 46 ).
A 24-week study showed that postmenopausal women with osteoporosis taking a combination of collagen and the hormone calcitonin resulted in a significant decrease in markers of collagen breakdown. 46 ).
8. Maintain a stable healthy weight
In addition to a nutritious diet, maintaining a healthy weight can help keep your Healthy Bones.
For example, being overweight increases the risk of developing osteopenia and osteoporosis.
This is especially true for postmenopausal women who have lost the protective properties of estrogen.
In fact, low body weight is a major contributing factor to low bone density and bone loss in this age group. 47 , 48 ).
On the other hand, some studies show that obesity can reduce bone quality and increase the risk of fractures due to the stress of being overweight. 49 , 50 ).
Although weight loss usually results in some bone loss, it is usually less pronounced in obese people compared to normal weight people. 51 ).
In general, repeated weight loss and recovery seems to be particularly detrimental to bone health, as well as losing large amounts of weight in a short amount of time.
One recent study showed that bone loss during weight loss does not recover after weight gain, suggesting that repeated cycles of weight loss and weight gain can lead to significant bone loss over a person’s lifetime. 52 ).
When it comes to protecting bone health, the best thing to do is to maintain a stable normal weight or slightly above normal weight.
9. Include Foods High in Magnesium and Zinc For Healthy Bones
Calcium is not the only mineral that is important for bone health. Several other people also play a role, including magnesium and zinc.
Magnesium plays a key role in converting vitamin D to its active form, which promotes calcium absorption ( 53 ).
An observational study of more than 73,000 women found that those who consumed 3 mg of magnesium per day had 400% higher bone density than women who consumed half that amount per day. 54 ).
Although magnesium is found in small amounts in most foods, there are only a few excellent food sources. Glycinate, citrate, or magnesium carbonate supplements may be helpful.
Zinc is a trace mineral needed in very small amounts. It helps to replenish the mineral part of your bones.
In addition, zinc stimulates the formation of bone-building cells and prevents excessive bone breakdown.
Studies have shown that zinc supplements support bone growth in children and support bone density in older adults. 55 , 56 ).
Good sources of zinc are beef, shrimp, spinach, flaxseed, oysters, and pumpkin seeds.
10. Eat Foods High in Omega-3 Fats For Healthy Bones
Omega-3 fatty acids are well known for their anti-inflammatory effects.
They have also been shown to help protect against bone loss during aging. 57 , 58 , 59 ).
In addition to including omega-3 fats in your diet, it is important to ensure that the balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fats is not too high.
In one large study of over 1,500 adults aged 45 to 90, those who consumed a higher ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids had lower bone density than those with lower ratio of two fats. 58 ).
Generally speaking, it’s best to aim for an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 4:1 or lower.
Additionally, while most studies have examined the benefits of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish, one controlled study found that plant-based sources of omega-3s help reduce bone breakdown and speed up bone formation ( 59 ).
Plant sources of omega-3 fats include chia seeds, flaxseeds, and nuts. Healthy Bones is important at all stages of life.
However, having strong bones is something people tend to take for granted because symptoms often don’t show up until bone loss occurs.
Fortunately, there are many eating and lifestyle habits that can help build and maintain Healthy Bones, and it’s never too early to start.
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