This is Part 22 of the “31 Days of Healthy Living” series.
Five little ways to keep your bones big and healthy…
1. Monitor your Vitamin D status.
Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to many various health issues and is strongly linked to osteoporosis and less than favorable bone health.
Vitamin D is found only through the sun, supplements or (minimally) through our diet in fatty fish (i.e., salmon) and certain mushrooms. However, since direct sun contact is discouraged for skin care reasons and since many of us are bundled up during the winter months anyways, supplementation is the answer for most.
I take a daily supplement of 1000 IU’s Vitamin D, which is well above the recommended 400 IU’s. Some people need more than this, if they are already deficient. Ask your doctor to get checked and consider taking a daily supplement.
2. Eat the right amount (and types) of protein.
Studies have routinely shown that protein protects bone health. If we get too little protein, our bones lose their strength which puts us at increased risk for fractures.
However, on the flip side, too much protein can increase how much calcium we excrete through our urine. This is especially true when we eat high amounts of meat protein, which further increases how much calcium we lose. For example, studies show an increase in the risks of hip fractures when we eat excessive amounts of animal-based protein.
Eating plenty of plant based protein in the form of beans, vegetables, nuts and seeds, on the other hand, has a protective effect!
Yoga. Walking. Hiking. Running. Resistance training. Weight training.
All of the above (and more) have protective effects for your bones! Just be sure to fuel well and to increase how much you’re eating if you start unnecessarily losing weight. Being too thin is harmful for your bones.
4. Eat your fruits and vegetables.
Just like eating a moderate amount of mostly plant based proteins has a protective effect for your bones, so do fruits and veggies!
(Only too much is hardly ever a bad thing in this situation. 😉 )
Fruits and veggies are packed with vitamins and minerals that our bodies need for optimum bone health. It’s not just about calcium, after all! Magnesium, potassium, and vitamin K are all important in keeping our bones strong and healthy.
5. Watch the sodium.
A reduction in sodium is routinely recommended for people suffering with high blood pressure.
But it’s important for each and every one of us to moderate how much sodium we’re eating, for reasons other than blood pressure. High sodium intake can promote high calcium output in our urine. Not a good thing! Try cutting back how much salt you add to recipes and try to choose foods with lower amounts of sodium in them. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, start cooking with herbs and nix the salt when you don’t need it!