It’s not just milk that does a body good. Calcium-rich foods are not the only way to get strong healthy bones. It’s a start, but there is more you need to maintain bone density as you age. Young or old bones are not part of daily mobility. Bones help to protect your organs, a place to anchor all your muscles, and stores for calcium (which includes nerve conduction, hormones, and enzymes). It’s never too late to build a healthy body.
Here are the top tips for healthy bones:
1) Eat a varied diet
Fruits and veggies are not only full of calcium but vitamin C and antioxidants, which can help maintain bones by fighting off cell damage. (1) Foods like broccoli, onions, cabbage, and peppers are surprisingly high in vitamin C and other antioxidants. Also, make sure to include protein in your diet as well. Lean proteins like fish, nuts, dairy, and poultry are the best healthy meal options. (2)
2) Work out
Weight-bearing exercises are essential to building and maintaining strong bones. Studies have shown that men and women who did weight-bearing and resistance exercises as they aged had stronger, denser and bigger bones that similar groups did not have. (3) Include walking, dancing, hiking, jumping rope, and even yard work on a regular basis for both cardio and bone health benefits. (4)
3) Sunshine or supplements
Vitamins D and K are essential to bone health. Vitamin D helps with absorption of calcium. With the prevalence of sunscreen and lack of outdoor time, vitamin D deficiency is pretty commonplace. Vitamin K2 helps with bone modification, bone formation, and is vital to preventing the loss of calcium from your bones. (5) Vitamin D and K2 can be found in our Foundational Multivitamin.
4) Maintain a healthy weight
This one is a little more involved. Getting to a healthy can be challenging for many. Dropping calories too low can deplete the nutrients needed for healthy bones. Diets with too few calories often have too few nutrients as well. Being at an obese weight can cause a significant loss of bone density in hips and thighs. Make sure to not only get in some physical activity every day, but to also eat a well-balanced diet full of protein and vital nutrients to support an active lifestyle and healthy weight management. (6)
Small changes for healthy bones
For something as important as your bones, a little effort can go a long way. Healthy weights, lifting weights, eating a diet packed with nutrient-dense foods, and getting some sun is all part of a healthy lifestyle in general and key to strong bone structure as you age. If you want your body to work hard, you have to be willing to work hard to maintain it every day. Like my anatomy teacher always used to say, “getting old ain’t for sissies”.
These tips, along with a personalized vitamin regimen, could help your build and maintain healthy bones. Take our free 5-minute assessment to get personalized vitamin recommendations based on your unique needs. Ready to find high-quality vitamins that are right for you? Get your personalized recommendations.
- Aghajanian P, Hall S, Wongworawat MD, Mohan S. The Roles and Mechanisms of Actions of Vitamin C in Bone: New Developments. J Bone Miner Res. 2015;30(11):1945-55.
- Kerstetter JE, O’brien KO, Insogna KL. Low protein intake: the impact on calcium and bone homeostasis in humans. J Nutr. 2003;133(3):855S-861S.
- Marques EA, Mota J, Viana JL, et al. Response of bone mineral density, inflammatory cytokines, and biochemical bone markers to a 32-week combined loading exercise programme in older men and women. Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2013;57(2):226-33.
- Branca, F., & Vatueña, S. (2001). Calcium, physical activity and bone health – building bones for a stronger future. Public Health Nutrition, 4(1a), 117-123. doi:10.1079/PHN2000105
- Sahota O. Understanding vitamin D deficiency. Age Ageing. 2014;43(5):589-91.
- Shapses SA, Riedt CS. Bone, body weight, and weight reduction: what are the concerns?. J Nutr. 2006;136(6):1453-6.