Do you remember your grandmother seeming to shrink as she got older? She likely had osteoporosis, which caused her spine to curve. How can you keep your strong bones healthier?
Females struggle more with bone density due to hormonal and lifestyle factors. Fortunately, advances in science provide insight into holistic remedies that everyone can use to prevent fractures and age-related deterioration. Here are eight ways women can keep strong bones — integrate them into your lifestyle today.
1. Talk to Your Doctor
Women run a higher risk of osteoporosis because of estrogen loss during menopause, although anyone — even young men — can develop the disorder. Bone is a living tissue that continually sheds and rebuilds cells, like your skin. However, in osteoporosis, the replacement rate doesn’t keep pace, resulting in weak, porous bones prone to breakage.
You might not see early signs of the condition. Frequently, people don’t know they have the disease until they break a bone from a minor incident, like a cough or sneeze. By the time they seek medical care, their disorder may have progressed significantly — which is why prevention is vital.
In the past, physicians had relatively few frontline treatments other than hormone-replacement therapy, and many women found that the risks outweighed the benefits. However, today, bisphosphonates and other medicines like biologics offer fewer side effects. Most work best when started early, so see your doctor for regular checkups and ask about your osteoporosis risk.
2. Keep Strong Bones by Soaking up the Sun
Vitamin D is vital to healthy bones, and many Americans don’t get enough of it. Cubicle-dwellers may commute to and from work in the dark during the winter months, and those with limited mobility still struggle with accessibility in many areas.
The sunshine vitamin is, in reality, a hormone that helps your body absorb calcium from your blood. While you can take supplements, the best way to get what your body needs is doing so the way nature intended. A healthy diet helps, but there’s no substitute for going outdoors and soaking up the sun.
Strive to go outside for at least 15 minutes each day without sunscreen covering every exposed bit of flesh. While you do want to slather it on for protection in general, it’s vital for bone health to let your body generate this hormone from light.
3. Keep Strong Bones by Eating More Broccoli
Several vitamins and minerals work in tandem to help women keep strong bones. You know you need calcium — but vitamin D, K, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium also play a role. Science has yet to discover every micronutrient that goes into the chemistry of promoting bone density.
However, you can increase your bone strength by eating foods like broccoli rich in the nutrients you need. While you can take supplements, getting intake through food proves superior. According to Dr. Howard Sesso, an epidemiologist and leading supplement researcher, food provides hundreds of beneficial carotenoids, flavonoids and antioxidants with vitamins and minerals.
These additional substances can promote absorption and bioavailability. Aim for a diet rich in leafy greens, crudites like broccoli, and fruits and vegetables in every hue to ensure adequate intake of yet-undiscovered nutritional powerhouses.
4. Have Some Cheese, Little Mouse
Calcium does play a decisive role in bone strength. Dairy products provide a rich source of this mineral. If you can’t tolerate milk, you might find cheese easier on your digestion.
What if you follow a vegan diet for ethical reasons? Fortunately, soy provides both needed protein and calcium — a two-for-one perk for the cruelty-free folk. Seaweed, deep, leafy greens, peas and lentils, and almonds also provide this mineral from non-animal sources.
5. Avoid Crash Diets
When you crash diet, you do all sorts of nastiness to your body. You slow down your metabolism, which can cause your weight-loss efforts to backfire. You may also increase your osteoporosis risk.
Restrictive eating deprives your body of vital nutrients. Over time, you could develop unknown deficiencies that put you at risk. Keep your intake at a minimum of 1,200 calories daily.
6. Perform Weight-Bearing Cardio
Relax — this suggestion doesn’t mean you have to train for a marathon or drag yourself to a HIIT class. However, if your only exercise consists of swimming laps or pedaling a recumbent bike, you should mix things up if you’re a woman seeking bone strength.
To increase bone density, you need to perform weight-bearing exercises that force you to work against gravity. You can walk, jog, dance — anything that gets you upright and moving.
7. Lift Weights
Another way to increase bone density is through weightlifting. Weightlifting is an ideal alternative if you have a condition like arthritis that makes even low-impact moves painful. You can build strength in your femur, tibia and fibula with seated curls, extensions and raises without making your knees groan.
8. Quit the Butts and Booze
Cigarette and alcohol abuse are fatal to bone strength. Smoking inhibits your body’s ability to absorb calcium — you could become deficient even if you adore cheddar. Nicotine slows down the production of new cells to repair the damage, making injuries slow to heal.
Heavy alcohol use decreases bone density, a lack of which is the underlying cause of osteoporosis. Plus, hitting the bottle makes you more prone to falling and breaking something. One night of “fun” could lead to a fracture that costs you money for years if you lack health insurance.
Women, Keep Strong Bones With These 8 Tips
If you’re a woman, you need to work harder to keep strong bones. Use the eight tips above to prevent trouble before it starts.