It’s never too early or too late to be wondering your bones! Find out what happens to your bones as you age and how to keep them healthy.
What happens to my bones as I age?
In childhood and adolescence, most of our bone growth and bone density occurs. Girls reach their most bone density by age eighteen. For boys, this happens by age 20. In adulthood, it is essential to maintain bone density and try to slow the rate of bone loss. As we grow older, our bodies lose bone density. After menopause, women are especially at risk for osteoporosis.
Try these seven tips to keep your bones healthy.
1. Choose calcium-rich foods like:
Choose non-dairy sources of calcium also, fortified soy and rice beverages, canned salmon with bones, leafy green vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and fortified orange juice. Find out more about calcium-rich foods here.
2. Get enough vitamin D to keep your bones robust
Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium in foods. You can find vitamin D in:
Fortified soy and rice beverages
Fortified orange juice
3. Get enough nutrients to stay your bones strong
Potassium, vitamin K and magnesium facilitate your body to absorb and use calcium. Get these essential nutrients by eating a variety of healthy foods like vegetables and fruit, legumes (beans, peas, lentils), nuts, seeds, whole grains and fish. Protein helps to build muscle, which helps keep bones healthy. Choose protein-rich foods like meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, legumes (beans, peas, lentils), nuts and seeds.
4. Stay active to keep your bones strong
Aim to move for a minimum of one hundred fifty minutes weekly. Here are some ideas to help keep your bones healthy. Try:
- a) Weight-bearing exercises like running, walking, hiking, low impact aerobics, dancing, tennis and golf.
- b) Resistance activities like lifting weights or push-ups to help build muscle, which keeps your bones healthy.
- c) Stretching exercises like yoga and tai chi to help improve balance and coordination, which will lower your risk of falling and breaking bones.
5. Limit caffeine to keep your bones strong
Having an excessive amount of caffeine will decrease the number of calcium you absorb. Aim for no more than 400mg of caffeine per day for adults (about 2-3 cups of coffee per day). Pregnant and breastfeeding women should have no more than 300 mg of caffeine per day.
6. Don’t smoke or attempt to quit to keep your bones strong
If you smoke, you will have quicker bone loss and the next risk of bone fractures than non-smokers.