What comes to mind when you think about your own skeleton? If you say “horror skeleton,” then you’re definitely not alone. But it is important to realize that the bones inside our body are neither dead nor “dry.” They are made up of living tissue, which is constantly destroyed and reshaped. As we age, the loss of bone begins to slowly exceed their completion, resulting in a decrease in their density. However, following certain recommendations throughout your life will reduce the risk of osteoporosis, bone breakdown and fractures in old age.
Consuming food for healthy bones
Take in enough calcium. Calcium is the only mineral we have in such a large amount in our body, while 99% is contained in bones and teeth. By supplying a sufficient amount of calcium, you will support bone growth and maintain bone density. According to one American study, many people, especially women, do not include enough sources of this mineral in their diet. The recommended daily dose varies depending on your gender and age.
Adult men under the age of 70 and adult women under the age of 50 should take at least 1000 mg of calcium daily. Men over 70 and women over 50 then at least 1200 mg of calcium. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should take at least 1,300 mg of calcium every day.
People consume the most calcium from dairy products, such as milk, cheese or yogurt, which actually contain enough of this element. If you prefer soy milk, almond milk or other substitutes, then choose ones that are calcium-enriched.
Calcium-rich vegetables include turnips, cabbage, Chinese cabbage (bok choi), peas, leafy vegetables and broccoli. Although spinach is generally very healthy, it is not the best source of calcium because the oxalic acid it contains prevents the body from absorbing it.
Canned sardines or salmon are also a good source of calcium (you can easily consume bones in canned fish). Sardines and salmon are also excellent sources of omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids, which are essential for brain health. In addition, they contain vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium.
For breakfast, enjoy whole-grain products and low-sugar cereals, fortified with calcium and other nutrients. Due to the usual consumption of these cereals with milk, it is a good and consistent source of calcium.
You can also supplement calcium with supplements. Their basic forms include calcium carbonate and calcium citrate (calcium salt of citric acid). You should take calcium carbonate with food. Calcium citrate is more expensive, but you can take it at any time, so it is especially suitable for people with inflammatory bowel disease or absorption disorders. If you can take enough calcium from your diet, do not take supplements unless your doctor tells you to. Excessive amounts of calcium can have unpleasant side effects, including the possibility of kidney stones.
Take in enough vitamin D. Vitamin D helps the body improve its ability to absorb calcium. It is also a key element in building bones. People under the age of 70 should take at least 600 IU of vitamin D every day. People over the age of 70 then receive 800 IU. If you are at risk for vitamin D deficiency, your doctor should do a blood test to find out what you need.
Vitamin D is not present in most ingredients. Fatty fish such as swordfish, salmon, tuna or mackerel are good sources. In addition, fish will provide you with important omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids. You get a lower dose of vitamin D from beef liver, cheese, some mushrooms and egg yolks.
Milk is usually enriched with vitamins A and D. Vitamin D is also added to other drinks, but also to cereals.
You can check the amount of individual vitamins in food, for example, in these calorie tables.
Another great way to get vitamin D into your body is to spend time in the sun. Ultraviolet radiation triggers vitamin D synthesis in the body, although people with more melanin (those with darker skin) do not produce as much. When outdoors, use sunscreen with a high protection factor, at least 15.
Most experts agree that a daily stay in the sun for 5 to 10 minutes without the use of a sunscreen is safe and you can use it to supplement the necessary vitamin D.
You can also take Vitamin D as a dietary supplement. It is available in two forms – vitamin D2 and D3. Both are similarly effective at the right dosage, although vitamin D2 is probably less potent at higher doses. Vitamin D toxicity is very rare.
Eat foods rich in magnesium. Magnesium is an important mineral for all parts of our body, including the bones. 50-60% of magnesium is found in the bones. Most people do not get enough magnesium from their normal diet. Adult men should take at least 400-420 mg of magnesium per day, while adult women should take 310-320 mg of magnesium per day. There are a number of foods high in magnesium:
Almonds, cashews, peanuts, peanut butter
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach
Whole grains and pulses, especially black beans and soybeans
Avocado, peeled potatoes, bananas
Magnesium fights calcium for absorption. If you have low calcium levels, magnesium can cause calcium deprivation. However, if you eat enough calcium from your diet, you do not have to worry about these effects.
Eat foods rich in vitamin B. Lack of vitamin B12 can reduce the amount of osteoblasts, the cells responsible for forming new bones. People with this vitamin deficiency are more prone to fractures and faster bone loss. Adults should take at least 2.4 mcg of vitamin B12 each day. Good sources of vitamin B12 include:
Guts such as the liver or kidneys
Beef and other red meat (deer, etc.)
Seafood, especially mussels and oysters
Fish, fortified cereals and dairy products
Vegetables and cereals contain very little vitamin B12. But you can find it, for example, in delicatessen yeast.
For vegetarians and vegans, the amount of vitamin B12 sources is greatly reduced. However, it can also be used as a dietary supplement in the form of capsules or fluid for sublingual administration.
Take enough vitamin C. Your bones are made up mainly of collagen, a protein that forms the connective base of bones, which is then enriched with calcium. Vitamin C stimulates procollagen and accelerates collagen synthesis. If you get enough vitamin C from your diet, you will increase the mineral density of your bones, especially if you are a postmenopausal woman. Adult men should take at least 90 mg of vitamin C daily and adults at least 75 mg. Good sources of vitamin C include:
Citrus and citrus juices, red and green peppers, tomatoes, kiwi, strawberries, cantaloupe, brussels sprouts
Cabbage, cauliflower, potatoes, spinach, peas
Fortified cereals and similar products
Most people get an adequate amount through their diet. But if you still need a vitamin C supplement, it is available on the market in many different forms.
Smokers should consume 35 mg more vitamin C each day than the recommended daily allowance. This is because cigarette smoke lowers vitamin C levels.
Eat enough vitamin K. Vitamin K increases bone density and can reduce the risk of fractures. The recommended daily dose for adult men is at least 120 mcg, for adult women at least 90 mcg. Most of us take enough vitamin K from our regular diet. In addition, this vitamin is also produced by our intestinal bacteria. Vitamin K can be found in many different ingredients, but the most suitable sources are:
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli or turnips and turnips
Vegetable oils (especially soybeans) and nuts
Fruits – various berries, grapes, figs
Fermented foods, in particular nattō (fermented soybeans) and cheese
Watch your vitamin E intake. Vitamin E is an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effects and should be part of every healthy and balanced diet. A daily dose of at least 15 mg (22.4 IU) is recommended for adults. You should be careful with vitamin E supplements, which usually contain more than 100 IU, which is many times more than the recommended daily dose. Several studies suggest that consuming vitamin E supplements reduces bone mass and suppresses new bone building.
The amount of vitamin E from your regular diet will probably not endanger your bones and you will only benefit from its beneficial effects. Suitable sources of vitamin E include seeds, nuts, vegetable oils, spinach, broccoli, kiwi, mango, tomatoes and more.
Watch your caffeine and alcohol intake. The link between caffeine and bone density has not yet been fully established, but it appears that some caffeinated beverages, such as cola or coffee, may be responsible for bone loss. Other caffeinated beverages, such as black tea, have no effect on bone density. Excessive drinking is harmful to your body, including your bones. Different variations of cola are even more harmful to your bones, probably because they contain phosphorus.
The NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) has stated that “moderate” drinking is the safest way to avoid alcohol-related harm. Moderation is then defined as a maximum of three alcoholic beverages in one day and no more than seven beverages for women. For men, the limit is set at four drinks a day and no more than 14 per week.
A smart lifestyle choice
Spend 30 minutes of strength training every day. When training muscles, they stretch on the bones to which they are attached. This pull helps build bone tissue, so strength training contributes to stronger and denser bones.
It is advisable to build bone tissue before the age of 30, because later the bones begin to gradually degrade. So if you exercise with weights throughout your life, you will keep your bones healthy with good density.
Unlike aerobic exercise, weight training does not require long training sessions for its effectiveness. Exercising three times ten minutes a day will have the same effect as a half-hour workout.
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends activities such as brisk walking, hiking, aerobics, tennis, dance and strength training to develop and maintain bone mass.
Jump. Jumping is not just fun! This can be a very effective exercise to increase bone density. Recent studies of pre-menopausal women have shown that just ten jumps twice a day can increase bone mineral density and stop bone loss.
Climb barefoot to solid ground and jump as high as you can. Then take a short break (30 seconds) and jump again.
You can also try jumping jacks or a trampoline.
Be persistent. To have a positive effect, you have to jump every day and last even months.
Jumping is not recommended for people with advanced osteoporosis, as it could break the bones. People suffering from hip or leg problems or other health problems should also not jump. Check with your doctor if you are unsure if jumping is safe for you.
Strengthen muscles. Your muscles help keep the bones in place, and by strengthening them, you help build and maintain their proper density.
Training with dumbbells, elastic weight straps and weight training is especially excellent for strengthening muscles.
You can also improve your strength and flexibility with yoga or Pilates. People with pre-existing osteoporosis should avoid certain positions that could increase the risk of fractures or bone breakdown.
If you are concerned about your risk factors, talk to your doctor or physiotherapist about which exercises are best for you.
Stop smoking. You probably already know about the health risks of smoking. But did you know that smoking is also associated with a higher risk of osteoporosis? Smoking reacts negatively with the body’s ability to use minerals and nutrients. Smoking is actually directly linked to lower bone density.
If you smoke, quitting this habit will quickly reduce the risk of many different diseases. The longer you smoke, the greater the risk of low density and bone fractures.
Passive smoking in youth and early adulthood also contributes to the risk of low bone density in old age.
Smoking also reduces estrogen production in women, which is another reason for bone loss.
If proper diet and exercise do not help, see a doctor. Your doctor may prescribe effective medication even if your bones have already begun. Your doctor may also evaluate your blood count and vitamin and mineral intake to determine your specific needs.
Estrogens and progestogens (progestins) help maintain bone density in both men and women. The body’s production of these hormones is reduced by the aging process, and for this reason it is possible to use hormone supplementation, which reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis.
Drugs that help treat or prevent osteoporosis include ibandronate (Bonviva), alendronate (Alendros, Fosamax), risedronate sodium (Actonel) and zolendronic acid (Zometa, Reclast).