Our bones play a lot of roles in our bodies, including providing us structure, anchoring muscles, and storing calcium.
When we were younger, we were constantly reminded to drink our milk to help our bones grow bigger and stronger. But taking care of our bones doesn’t stop there. Our bones undergo several changes as we age and hence, the more important it is for us to mind our bone health.
What factors can affect bone health?
There are several factors that can affect bone health. This includes the amount of calcium in our diet, physical activity, tobacco and alcohol use, size, gender, race and family history, and certain medications.
While you don’t have control over the gender, race, or family you’re born to, there are things you can do to improve your bone health. This includes the following habits:
Eating a nutrient-dense diet
The nutrients you need for maintaining your bone health are found in whole foods. Some of the best foods to eat include:
Dark green, leafy vegetables
Leafy greens such as Chinese cabbage, kale, and collard greens are rich in calcium and vitamin K, which can reduce your risk of osteoporosis.
Calcium isn’t the only nutrient needed by the body to maintain bone health. Magnesium and potassium, for example, are needed to help maintain vitamin D balance. Sweet potato is a good source of magnesium.
Citrus fruits like grapefruit and navel orange are good vitamin C sources that have been shown to prevent bone loss.
Fish such as salmon, whitefish, and tuna are also rich in vitamin D. The body needs this vitamin to absorb calcium.
Having regular physical activities can benefit you in two ways – one it helps you maintain a healthy weight and two, it helps build bones and prevent bone loss.
There’s no single benefit of smoking. It causes more harm than good in your body. It increases your risk of lung cancer, heart disease, and increases your risk of bone loss. If you want to improve your bone health this year, it’s important that you quit it.
Seeing a bone specialist
Your body goes through a lot of changes as you age. Having regular check-ups and screening tests can help detect diseases early. The earlier they are detected, the better is the treatment outcome.
For your bones, you may ask your doctor about DXA. It’s a simple X-ray that takes a “snapshot” of your bone health. This is highly recommended for women within their two years of menopause (menopausal women are at higher risk of developing osteoporosis).
If you have certain bone issues that you’d like to be checked, our specialists at Ozark Orthopaedics can help. You may request an appointment by calling us at (479) 521-2752.