Healthy bones for life

Your bones play an important role in allowing you to stay fit and healthy, so keeping them strong is crucial, particularly as you begin to age and conditions such as osteoporosis become more of a risk.

Whether you have osteoporosis or you simply want to strengthen your bones for the future, there are a number of lifestyle changes that you can make to keep your bones healthy.

Eat right:

A balanced diet of fruits, vegetables and grains is the foundation of any healthy lifestyle, but when it comes to bones there are a few things to which you should pay close attention.

  • Increase calcium.
    Calcium helps to build and maintain strong bones. To ensure that you’re getting enough you should eat a number of different foods, such as dairy, green leafy vegetables and tofu. Australian women aged above 50 and men aged above 70, are recommended to have 1,300mg of calcium per day. If you don’t get enough calcium from your diet, you can ask your doctor about taking supplements.
     
  • Reduce salt.
    It is believed that salt might make the body process calcium more quickly, so it’s a good idea to keep your salt intake to a minimum. Australia adults are recommended to consume less than 4 grams (or no more than one teaspoon) per day.
     
  • Watch your protein.
    While protein is crucial to a healthy diet, excessive consumption of meats, cheeses and other proteins may also deplete the body’s calcium stores by producing a certain acid, which can weaken bones.

 

Spend time in the sun:

Your body produces Vitamin D from sunlight, which, in turn, helps you absorb calcium. You only need a few minutes per day of sunlight, depending on your skin type. Those with lighter skin require less sunlight than those with darker skin.  Always remember to be sun-smart and use sunscreen and wear appropriate clothing.

Foods containing Vitamin D include fish, liver, egg yolks and fortified spreads and cereals.
 

Be active and maintain your weight:

Your bones rely on exercise and a healthy weight to keep them strong. Bones get stronger the more you use them, and a great way to strengthen them is through weight-bearing exercise. Try going for a walk with small hand-weights, or going running, dancing or playing golf or tennis.

Maintaining a healthy weight is important, but excessive weight loss can deteriorate your body’s calcium store by reducing oestrogen levels, which helps the body protect your bones. Losing too much weight or crash-dieting puts you at a greater risk of degenerative osteoporosis.
 

To find out more about maintaining healthy bones visit Health Direct

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