Our bones literally support every little thing that we do, yet keeping our bones strong is not something we often think of doing. This just comes down to being out of sight and out of mind. Unfortunately, keeping the thought of our bone health out of our consciousness is not necessarily the smartest move to make. Especially when the first two decades of our lives relies on us putting consideration and effort into our bone health as it’s an imperative time to peak bone mass. In most instances, this is not something we are taught as kids, so if you're someone who has never thought about bone strength, don’t worry, there are plenty of things you can do now to achieve stronger and healthier bones in a natural way.
Firstly, let's get into bones a little more. It may be a surprise to you but bones are actual living and growing tissues made up collagen.
Collagen is the protein that provides the soft framework of the bone and calcium phosphate is the mineral that hardens and strengthens the bone. Both of these together allow us to handle the stress we place on our bodies daily through running, swimming and hopefully, dancing.
SuperFoods For Strong Bones
When you think about bone health, think Calcium, Vitamin-D, C, K, Potassium and Magnesium. It may seem like quite a list, but once you get your head around what foods contain these, it’ll become like second nature to consume them.
- Soya beans, beans and legumes
- Soya drinks with added calcium
- Fish where you eat the bones, such as sardines and pilchards
- Green leafy vegetables, like broccoli, cabbage and okra, excludes spinach
- Bread and anything made with fortified flour
Vitamin D rich foods
- Oily fish such as sardines, mackerel and salmon
- Fortified breakfast cereals
- Fortified fat spreads
- Some powdered milk
- Mushrooms (place mushrooms in the sun for 20 minutes before consuming as it will give you an added dose of vitamin D, read more here)
However, Vitamin D is a little bit of a tricky vitamin as it’s primary source is from the sun. With this being our main way to consume high qualities of this vitamin, and due to many obstacles such as where you live, weather and how much fun in the sun you get, a supplement alternative could benefit you.
Vitamin C rich foods
- Vegetables, specifically yellow and green vegetables
- Green leafy vegetables like kale and mustard spinach
- Fruits like strawberries, papayas, lychees and of course oranges
- Parsley and Thyme
Vitamin K rich foods
- Fermented foods like soybeans, sauerkraut and cheese
The process of osteocalcin happens when we consume Vitamin K. This means that our protein is altered in our bone formation. This not only allows calcium to stay strong and abundant but binds to the minerals in our bones too. Our 2 in 1 Support K2+D3 supplement gives you exactly what you need to support bone strength and help muscles function.
Potassium is known to reduce joint pain as well as regulate calcium and phosphorus in the body. This process becomes important to bone health. However, unlike other vitamins and minerals, potassium can be a hard one to notice in the body. So long as you're consuming enough bananas, tomatoes or sweet potatoes, you’ll be getting exactly what you need.
When we don’t consume enough magnesium, we can see inflammation increase. This inflammation can affect our joints, which in turn, affects our bones. As an osteoarthritis prevention mineral, getting enough spinach, pumpkin seed or rice in your diet are a great way to start to maintain adequate levels. If a supplement seems to work better for you, our Natural Magnesium Glycinate is a great supplement to aid in bone health.
Lifestyle Changes For Bone Health
While diet is always of utmost importance, there are also lifestyle changes you can take on to aid in bone strength.
Physical Activity: It is always perceived that exercise is great for our muscles, but it can do a world of good for our bones too. If you're someone who feels like they don’t want to get into the gym and pump iron or get sweaty with the crossfitters, simply walking, hiking, jogging outdoors or activities such as tennis or dancing can make a difference. These types of exercises are considered weight-bearing, as they use your own body weight, and can not only increase bone mineral density but strengthens the bones and muscles around the joints.
Strength training, using weights, is also great for bone health. Building muscle mass will aid in generating stronger bones and joints too. Just be sure to not go crazy and lift super heavy if you don’t feel you can. While lifting can be great for your muscles, if not done correctly, it's not so great on the joints.
Smoking: Smoking is obviously terrible, but more specifically, smoking has been linked to osteoporosis and bone fractures. This bad habit can also make musculoskeletal injuries heal much slower.
Alcohol: As much as hanging out with friends and getting a little loose is fun, alcohol can actually interfere with calcium balance and vitamin D production. With these being important in bone health, alcohol's depletion of these, as well as water and other nutrients in the body, can cause some damage.
Medicines: Medication can be a tricky topic as sometimes you just need them. As understandable as this is, make sure to find out what affects your medication can have on your body. As some medications are known to cause bone loss, it's good to understand what you are consuming and see if you can possibly find an alternative.
When it comes to bone health, there are some factors we have no control of like age, gender, ethnicity and family history. However, altering your daily routine with food and lifestyle changes could have some great benefits on your bone health now and support your bone health in the future. Keep an eye on what you are consuming, add some positive activities, remove some negative habits, and, hopefully, you'll still be running around in circles like in your 80’s.
Writer: Kristina Innemee