How To Maintain Strong, Healthy Bones & Understanding Calcium
The health of your bones is not really something that you notice unless you break a bone at some point in your life.
It's not until you get older, that bone related diseases become a big factor.
The reality is that diseases like arthritis and osteoporosis can creep up on you and then have a devastating effect, if you haven't paid attention to nourishing your bones adequately throughout your life time.
In fact, osteoporosis is often called the ‘silent disease’ because bone degeneration happens without symptoms.
With this in mind, it's important to understand a little about what makes strong, healthy bones so that you can avoid these debilitating diseases later, or to simply ensure that you maintain good posture and agility as you age.
Calcium is a vital nutrient for bone health but most people have no idea how this mineral is formed in the body or where to get it. There's more to this than the false claim that you need to eat dairy products to maintain strong bones.
You can have a big say as to whether or not you end up with rickety bones.
And it starts by following the steps listed here in this article...
How To Maintain Strong & Healthy Bones
1. Calcium-Rich Foods & Minerals
Contrary to what you’ve probably been told your entire life, dairy milk isn’t the only way to get the calcium you need for bone health.
In fact, there are many other 'better' foods that can contribute to bone health that you may not have considered.
CELERY is the #1 plant food you can eat for your bones.
It looks like a bone and snaps like a bone. It's sign-of-nature or 'signature' is the bones because that's exactly what it looks like!
And today's science confirms that Celery contains approximately 21% phytalitic or plant sodium (salt), which is the same level of sodium that your bones should contain.
Your body needs salt in order to have strong, healthy bones.
Salt ionizes into Calcium in the body when combined with Water and Vitamin D (from Sunlight)!
That’s why the ocean is full of crustaceans and shells that are comprised of pure calcium (created by Salt, Water and Sunshine).
It's also why if you don't eat enough stalky sodium-rich foods and salt, you're likely going to wind up with brittle bones, joint and hip problems and degenerative bone diseases like Osteoporosis.
Get salt like this on your food every day and take a little bag with you whenever you dine out so that you avoid the typical restaurant version which has been infused with aluminium so that it doesn't cake.
Dark leafy greens, soy products, and lentils and beans are high in calcium, but there are plenty more sources that are easily consumed on a plant-based diet. Seeds like poppy, sesame, chia and celery seeds are nutritional powerhouses and pack high percentages of calcium (one tablespoon of poppy seeds alone contains 13% of the recommended daily intake of calcium), but almonds, whey protein, rhubarb, tofu, edamame, and fortified non-dairy milks are also delicious, easy-to-consume sources of calcium for bone health.
Remember, that 'bought and paid for' media and the dairy industry has told us for generations that we need milk to get Calcium, which is actually not so because of the way your body creates it.
While dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt are indeed good sources of calcium, you absolutely don’t need to eat them to get plenty of calcium every day and there are plenty of other healthy, natural sources of calcium.
2. The Right Kinds of Exercise
Maintaining strong, healthy bones isn’t just about what you eat. It’s also about how much and how well you exercise.
Just like muscles, bones need to move in order to stay strong and avoid losing density. By putting gentle stress on your bones, you’re triggering them to build up density to protect them.
The number one exercise you should do is to walk for 30-45 minutes every single day. The simple cross-patterning movement of walking helps you to develop a strong musculoskeletal foundation over the course of your life time.
Once you're consistent with your walking, then add some form of low-impact exercise that places additional resistance on your muscles - activities like, cycling, swimming, circuit training, pilates and yoga are all fantastic options to help keep your bones strong and healthy, to boost your balance, flexibility and to help you avoid degeneration and make you less prone to falls as you age.
Try to ensure you’re getting physical activity every day, even if it’s as simple as walking your dog on the beach or around the park.
This habit can help you build and maintain healthy, strong bones for years to come and it takes very little extra effort or change to your daily routine.
Learn more: Top Low-Impact Exercises For Health & Wellness
3. Adequate Sun Exposure
It might be tough to see the connection between getting enough sun and maintaining healthy bones, but it’s just as important as exercise and consuming the right foods.
Your body produces vitamin D when it’s exposed to sunlight, and vitamin D is critical for bone health.
If your levels of calcium start to drop, vitamin D intervenes in two important ways: it travels to the intestines to help the body absorb calcium more easily, and it also travels to the kidneys to help prevent calcium loss through urine. The problem is, vitamin D is hard to get.
It’s not naturally in many foods, so your body needs sunlight to help produce it, and striking the right balance of adequate sunlight without suffering from skin damage can be tough.
A good amount to strive for is 10-30 minutes of quality sunlight several times a week on your face, neck and arms. In summer, in the morning is best to do this before the intensity of sun reaches its peak in the middle of the day.
Learn more: 7 Key Reasons Why You Need Sunlight.
4. Help From Other Vitamins
Calcium and vitamin D aren’t the only ways for your body to maintain healthy bones. Vitamin K has been shown to play an important role in bone formation and calcium regulation and its readily available in certain plant foods.
High vitamin K intake has been linked to higher bone density, and it can be found aplenty in dark, leafy greens, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, kale, and collard greens.
Vitamin A has also been shown to help direct calcium to bone, but too much of the wrong type of vitamin A can actually lead to fractures, so opt for the right type by eating foods like winter squash, rockmelon, kale, carrots, spinach and sweet potatoes.
5. Things to Avoid
Sometimes, maintaining healthy bones can be as much about what you don’t do as what you’re doing. As we age and our bodies find it harder and harder to maintain bone density, it’s time to be careful about what we consume.
Avoid or limit your intake of:
- Processed sugars e.g. soda, candy, cookies, cakes and packaged breakfast cereals
- Artificial sweeteners e.g. diet cola, coffee sweeteners etc.
- Refined grains and wheat products e.g. white flour, white bread, white pasta etc.
- Excess fried and fatty foods and hydrogenated oils e.g. margarine, vegetable shortening, canola oil;
- Artificial caffeine e.g. energy drinks, commercial coffee and soft drinks
- Too much meat - the acid it release into the blood stream requires calcium from the bones to help neutralise it.
Maintaining strong, healthy bones isn’t hard to do, especially if you follow these tips, but it does get harder the older you get.
Starting out as early as possible is key to help minimise your bone density loss as you age, and to ensure you can keep living a happy, healthy active lifestyle at any age.
Osteoporosis is a serious disease that often goes undetected until a serious break happens, at which point it’s too late to turn back the clock.
Simply move towards a healthy, plant-based diet, and go about your everyday activities such as getting physical exercise and sunlight.
No matter your age, it’s never too early or too late to start taking care of your bone health, because it’s so incredibly important for your later quality and vitality of life.
Tolman Self Care.