How to Increase Bone Density
If you want to find out how to increase bone density, you should know this is not a process that can happen overnight. By the time you turn 20 years old, your body is making more bone cells than it is losing. After we turn 20 years old, as we age, we start losing bone mass because our bones get thinner, lighter and more porous. Alongside these consequences there are also the increased risks of bone fractures and developing osteoporosis. To measure the strength of your bones, you can perform a bone density test which will determine the mineral density via X-ray.
Natural ways to increase bone density
Although it’s not yet known if we can do much to impact the health of our bones, we can take small steps to make them stronger by ensuring we have a balanced diet and exercise regularly.
- Calcium intake: This vital mineral ensures adequate bone development. If your body is not receiving enough calcium, your bones can become frail, your bone density decreases and you risk developing osteoporosis. Salmon, tofu and dark green leafy vegetables are your best friends when it comes to boosting your calcium intake.
- Vitamin D: Ensuring you get enough calcium isn’t enough. You also have to make sure your body can properly assimilate it by pairing it with vitamin D. To achieve the ideal balance between calcium and vitamin D, add tuna, orange juice and egg yolks to your diet. If you feel these are not enough, ask your doctor for a vitamin D3 supplement. It’s best to administer it during winter months when days are shorter and sunlight exposure decreases.
- Vitamin K: Recent studies showed that vitamin K helps bones stay healthy and reduces the calcium amounts lost by the body. To make sure you don’t neglect vitamin K, keep in mind you can find it in super foods such as broccoli, spinach and kale.
Bad habits to give up
Now that we’ve tackled what we should do, let’s take a look at what we shouldn’t do.
- Besides taking a toll on your lungs, smoking can also be bad for your bones. Cigarettes can actually decrease bone mass and it prevents our bodies from assimilating calcium.
- Coffee. Early birds and people who like to have three coffees per day might have a difficult time reducing their coffee intake. We all know caffeine is not without its benefits, but too much of it will work against your bones, preventing them from functioning properly.
- Alcohol. We’re not talking about the usual glass of wine. Going overboard with heavy alcohol doesn’t allow vitamin D to do its job.
Reinforcing good habits
Regular exercise doesn’t only have short term benefits. Besides releasing endorphins and making you more awake in the morning, yoga or strength training will help your bones and muscles become stronger. An active lifestyle will promote high bone density and will keep osteoporosis at bay. You don’t have to plunge into complicated routines at first. Walking, in itself, is a great exercise. Swimming and cycling are great cardiovascular workouts, while resistance training increases the strength in your bones. The answer to the question of how to increase bone density is still being researched by doctors and scientists. Until we have a more definite answer, combining a nutritious diet with regular exercises and cutting back on bad habits should help us maintain healthy bones and muscles.
For more information about bone health, check out All You Need to Know about Bone Health.