Bones are serious business. Besides helping us stay upright, these hard-working parts of us also play a key role in the production of red and white blood cells and platelets. They protect vital organs like our brains and lungs. They give shape to our face and ensure our nerve-communication highway, a.k.a. the spinal cord, stays safe.
Our bone’s health can be as complicated as the many functions our skeleton provides in our bodies. Here are five things you need to consider about your bone health before the strength of your bones becomes an issue in your life.
1. Weight-bearing exercise
Your bones benefit from weight-bearing exercise. That doesn’t mean you have to join a gym and start bench-pressing 200 lb. weights in order to bring more strength to your bones. The simple act of walking is actually the best weight-bearing exercise for bone health. Check with your doctor for the best approach according to your medical condition, but most experts agree that a brisk, thirty-minutes of walking a day (even if it is divided into 3, ten-minute segments) can be very beneficial for your bones.
2. Mineral and vitamin balance
The proper ratios of the minerals in your body play a key role in how healthy your bones remain. A good bone support supplement will include essential minerals like calcium, magnesium and phosphorous, as well as trace minerals like vanadium. In addition, these minerals only function properly if the body also has the proper ratios of certain vitamins that play a key role in bone health.
Vitamin D’s presence is essential for the body to absorb calcium. K2 helps tell the body where the calcium it consumes is supposed to go, reducing the risk of calcification of arteries due to excess calcium.
Minerals can be tricky to absorb for the body, which is finicky and requires that the minerals be in proper proportion to each other in order to increase assimilation. Again, a good bone support supplement should offer its minerals in these proper ratios.
No matter what health concern you investigate, much of your chances for success hinges on the healthiness of your diet. In the end, we are ultimately what we eat (or don’t eat, as the case may be). A diet rich in the foods that contain the minerals and vitamins your bones need is very important to your bone health success.
We all grew up knowing milk was our go-to source for bone health, but in recent years other foods have taken the spotlight when it comes to bone health. According to healthaliciousness.com, the top ten foods highest in calcium are:
- Dark, leafy greens
- Non-fat mozzarella cheese
- Low-fat milk/yogurt
- Chinese cabbage (bok choy)
- Cooked okra
- Green snap peas
- Sardines (in oil, with bones)
Remember, the more processed the foods you eat, whether because they have been radiated at a facility, nuked in your microwave or even cooked on the stove top, the fewer nutrients you can expect to actually get from the food. Our poor food choices coupled with the decreased nutrients available in many of our meals are what help make bone support supplements a popular choice for helping to fill in any nutrient gaps caused by diet choices.
4. Acid and Alkaline Balance
When it comes to your bones, your body’s pH balance goes hand in hand with your diet choices and bone health. Our bodies are naturally designed to seek balance. When we are too acidic, our body is so determined to return to its more alkaline state, that it will actually steal important minerals like calcium and magnesium from our bones in order to bring the body back to a balanced state.
The kinds of things that increase the acid in our bodies include, but are not limited to:
- Drinking sodas
- Eating fried or other acid-forming foods
- Being stressed
- Toxin exposure, even from the air we breath
The body gets support toward a more alkaline balance when we eat more alkalizing foods like greens, put more calcium and magnesium into our system than we are taking out, and adopt lifestyle changes that will limit our exposure to the things that are making us more acidic.
5. Hormonal changes
There’s a reason women in or through menopause have to increase their diligence in pursuing healthy bones. Research into bone health points to a link between our sex hormone levels, like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone and our body’s ability to properly manage the balance of bone building substances in the body.
If your doctor is discussing testing your hormones, see if he/she won’t consider a saliva test instead of blood work. Most experts in the health industry agree that saliva testing of hormones like our sex hormones and DHEA (their precursor) is more accurate than a blood test. Discuss the results with your doctor to see if you might benefit from hormone support for your bone health as well as overall well-being.
Taking a multi-pronged approach for your best bone health may seem intimidating at first. However, even small steps today can reap big benefits in your future. When it comes to bone health, it’s never too early, or too late, to incorporate the healthy habits and routines that will make your bones the best.
Betsy’s Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Consult your healthcare provider before taking a supplement, especially if you have a medical condition or take medications. For example, many supplements thin blood. Some people with conditions like hypercalcimia have to watch calcium intake and cannot take supplements like calcium or vitamin D.