Strong bones are an essential part of a healthy body. Unfortunately, as we age, our bone density decreases, which can cause osteoporosis, a disease that weakens bones and often results in pain and fractures. The good news is that there are many things you can do to improve your bone health at any age. Here are some simple tips to keep your bones strong and healthy:
1. Eat for Strong Bones
Calcium is an important building block of bone tissue and vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. These two nutrients are the foundation of healthy bones. Dairy is a great source of both calcium and vitamin D; however, if you suffer from lactose intolerance, there are still many ways to get the calcium your bones need, including:
· Fortified juices, cereals, and oatmeal
· Nuts and seeds
· Broccoli and bok choy
2. Exercise for Better Bone Density
Weight-bearing exercise—walking and aerobics—is another great way to keep your bones strong. But don’t forget strength-training and weight-lifting, which is especially important for women. Strength-training builds strong muscles and increases bone density in fracture-prone areas like the hips and spine. Strong muscles also help with balance and coordination, which can prevent falls later in life.
3. Quit Smoking and Limit Alcohol Intake
It’s a well-known fact that smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can increase your risk for developing many types of cancers, including lung and liver, but did you know it can also affect bone density? Quit smoking and limit your alcohol intake for the benefit of your entire body!
4. Get Your Bone Density Tested
Turn to a medical professional to get a bone density scan called DEXA scan. This test measures bone loss and helps determine your risk for osteoporosis. A regular bone scan is recommended for both men and women because it can help detect the potential for fractures at very early stages.
Our bones support us and protect our organs. Protect your bones by developing healthy habits now.
This article was contributed by NorthShore University HealthSystem, a comprehensive, fully integrated, healthcare delivery system that serves the Chicago region. With leading hospitals in Chicago and the surrounding area, NorthShore provides patients with the option of a bone density scan and other tests to detect unwanted illnesses.