Bones are living tissue whose cells regenerate every ten years. What we eat, what we do or don’t do has a big influence on the health and strength of our bones. In a nutshell, increasing weight bearing exercise, adding nutrients to our diet through food or supplements and avoiding calcium leaching substances can create strong bones that will provide a skeletal framework throughout our lives.
Weight bearing exercise: Any position working against gravity will stress our skeletal system and increase cellular activity in our bones. Hiking, dancing, climbing stairs, practicing yoga are all bone building activities in addition to the traditional weight training and workout machines.
Foods to add: Calcium, Vit D, Vitamin K2 and Magnesium are 4 important bone builders. Calcium is abundant in dairy but absorption of milk and cheese products is an issue for many people. Dark leafy greens are an excellent source of calcium, fiber and other nutrients. Vitamin D from the sun is metabolized to it’s active form on the skin and helps calcium absorption. Thanks to Portland’s climate many of us in the Pacific Northwest are deficient. Eating enriched foods or taking D3 supplement is an excellent way to increase this important vitamin. Vitamin K2 is abundant in butter and eggs. Nuts, beans and bananas are good sources of Magnesium. While foods can be good sources of all of these nutrients how they are grown and how we prepare them can lower the overall percentages. Bone formulas containing these nutrients can be a good insurance.
Foods to avoid: certain foods or things we ingest by mouth can pull calcium out of our bones into the bloodstream. Soda, other aluminum containing products, smoking, will all cause us to lose bone mass.
It’s a losing battle but we can win it. After about the age of 35 we lose more bone then we gain. Paying attention to healthy living before 35 can increase bone mass and slow the rate of loss overtime.
Drugs to increase bone mass have been shown to be somewhat successful however the bone they create is often brittle, leading to fracture. Even if you are taking calcium enhancing drugs, it’s important to maintain a healthy bone lifestyle to support your skeleton. To quote an old cliche, we only get one body!