While your bone health might not be something you think about every day, your bones are very important. Your bones are comprised of a combination of materials like bone cells, minerals, and proteins. With just over 200 bones in the adult human body, your bones work to support all of your muscles and keep your organs safe from harm.
Typically around the age of 30 your body will have obtained a peak in bone mass. In the years that follow it is common to slowly lose some of your bone mass. Bone mass is very important. When you lose a lot of bone mass, you are at heightened risk of osteoporosis as your bones become brittle and are more easily broken.
If you are interested in ways that you can protect your bone health, here are 5 things to consider:
1. Get Enough Calcium. People of all ages need calcium in their diet. The RDA for young adults is 1,000 milligrams per day. Women over 50 and men over 70 should incorporate additional calcium into their diet (current recommendations are 1,200 mg per day). You can get calcium from a variety of foods and drinks including dairy products, broccoli, kale, almonds, and fish with bones like sardines and canned salmon.
2. Don't Forget Vitamin D. In order to absorb the calcium you need for strong and healthy bones, your body has to have vitamin D. Being outside in the sun impacts your vitamin D production. Egg yolks, milk, and certain types of fish like tuna are good sources of vitamin D. The RDA recommends that adults get around 600 IUs per day of vitamin D.
3. Get Active. Being physically active and doing weight bearing activities is an important part of your bone health. People who are physically active have a lower risk of osteoporosis than those who are sedentary.
4. Don't Smoke. Cigarette smoking has a negative impact on your bones making them weaker. One of the most profound is its negative effect on calcitonin, a hormone that helps build bones in your body.
5. Don't Drink Excessively. If you consume alcohol, it is smart to keep it to no more than two drinks a day since alcohol is thought to negatively impact calcium absorption in your body and bone healing.
While it might be easy to overlook bone health when thinking about health prevention and wellness, it is important to think about things you can do to keep your bones as healthy and strong as possible. If you are concerned about the condition of your bones, you should seek out a qualified medical professional like an orthopedic doctor. Orthopedic medicine is a medical specialty specifically focused on your body's bones, tendons, joints, and ligaments.by Stacie L. Grossfeld, MD