Are You Feeding Your Bones Right?
Say Yes to healthier bones! In conjunction with World Osteoporosis Day on 20th October, learn what you need to keep your bones happy and healthy!
Bones play an important role in the overall function of our body. They provide a frame for our body, protect our vital organs such as our heart, and work with our joints and muscles for us to move.
OSTEOPOROSIS - ARE YOU AT RISK?
Osteoporosis is a bone disease which causes bones to break more easily due to the loss of bone density and mass. Some risk factors are uncontrollable – such as older age, gender and genetics, but by knowing them, you can take steps to reduce those risks.
Men and women can develop osteoporosis; however, women are at greater risk. This is because women tend to have smaller and thinner bones than men and lose bone mass quicker too. The number of osteoporosis-related hip fractures in Singaporean women over age 50 is 8 times that of breast cancer cases.
Another reason why women have a higher chance of developing osteoporosis is due to the decline of estrogen levels when they reach menopause. Estrogen is a hormone in women that helps to protect bones.
Time to listen up, couch potatoes! A sedentary or inactive lifestyle with a lot of sitting or lying down and little to no exercise may cause your bones to weaken and lose mineral content. This leads to fractures easily.
Lack of Calcium and Vitamins
Calcium helps to build bones while Vitamin D helps to enhance calcium absorption and maintain bone health. Did you know that calcium is also essential for keeping your nerves, heart, and muscles functioning properly, therefore your body draws calcium from your bones to ensure healthy blood calcium levels? In short, a diet lacking in these nutrients can negatively affect bone density, and also lead to other health issues.
Smoking affects strong bones as the nicotine content has a direct toxic effect on bone cells. Thus, smokers are more likely to have weak bones and higher chances of experiencing fractures.
Although there are studies that show a drink a day could possibly reduce risk of fractures and bone loss, too much alcohol (more than 2 to 3 ounces a day) will interfere with the absorption of Calcium and Vitamin D. There has also been links that heavy alcohol consumption increases the risks of fractures.
WAYS TO BUILD STRONGER BONES
Not to fret, as here are some tips your bones will thank you for!
The most commonly known nutrient that is good for our bones is calcium, but our bones need more than just calcium to be strong.
Calcium is the main mineral found in bones. It is important to consume sufficient calcium daily to protect bone structure and strength, as old bone cells are constantly broken down and replaced with new ones. Find out how much calcium you need here.
Meeting your daily requirements for calcium through certain foods may be high in calorie-content, such as milk and cheese. Alternatively, you may opt for dark leafy greens, or calcium supplements such as LAC Fullcal and LAC FullCal 800 .
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. Studies have shown that low levels of Vitamin D contribute to lower bone density and increase the risk of bone loss. If you are unable to get enough vitamin D from sunlight or food, it is best to meet your daily requirement with supplements such as LAC Vitamin D3 1000iu.
Magnesium plays a key role in converting vitamin D into the active form that promotes calcium absorption.
Collagen is the main protein found in bones. It contains amino acids which help to build bone, muscle, ligaments and other tissues. Studies have also suggested that collagen supplements may help preserve bone health by reducing collagen breakdown.
Adopting a diet rich in the above nutrients will be beneficial for our bones! Click here to find out some food sources that provide these nutrients!
Weight-bearing exercises are particularly important for good bone health. They are exercises that make you work against gravity, such as brisk walking, climbing stairs and weight-lifting. Besides, regular exercising provides many other health benefits such as healthy heart and body weight! However, people who have previous bone injuries or osteoporosis should consult their doctor on appropriate exercises they can engage in.
Other than adopting a nutritious diet and having sufficient exercise, it is important to note that cessation of smoking and cutting back on alcohol consumption will help to reduce risks of bone fractures.
Opt for a bone density test which can help detect osteoporosis and the likelihood of a fracture occurring in the future. Inform the doctor of any previous fractures or medical history that may affect bone health. There are medications to help prevent bone loss and rebuild bone, but Osteoporosis has no cure, thus prevention is of significant importance.