It’s important for people of all ages to get plenty of calcium to ensure their bones stay healthy, but especially for those of us who are growing older, it’s important to maintain optimal bone health.
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, approximately 44 million people in the U.S. have developed osteoporosis – also known as low bone density – which puts them at greater risk of fracture. In fact, half of all women over the age of 50 are said to have the condition, and the same can be said of about 25 percent of men. When osteoporosis sets in, it doesn’t take much to cause a bone fracture. This is an extreme example, but the source notes that something as seemingly low-impact as a sneeze can break a bone if a person’s bone density is low enough.
But as is the case with many health conditions, there are steps people can take in advance to strengthen their bones, and potentially reduce the odds that osteoporosis ever occurs.
Get plenty of omega-3 fatty acids
The experts at Healthy Women promptly point out omega-3 – the good kind of fatty acid – on its list of bone health preserving steps. The source explains that although many people are already aware that omega-3s, which are abundant in fish oil, they might not know that fish can help reduce inflammation and, thereby, help improve heart health. It seems that omega-3 fatty acid is good for the formation of bones, while omega-6 – increases the odds of experiencing bone problems at some point in the future.
Ditto for vitamin D
Vitamin D has been known to help with emotional health, as well as maintain skin health. Healthy Women states that it may also benefit bone health in significant ways. According to the source, vitamin D allows the body to make the best use of calcium, and makes it so blood doesn’t have to drain resources such as calcium from bones. Supplements are encouraged by Healthy Women, with consideration for how sunlight isn’t always easy to come by, depending on where a person lives. Even if a person is already on medications for osteoporosis or other bone degenerative conditions, it might be a good idea to take vitamin D and calcium supplements to maximize bone health.
Be mindful of general health matters
Smoking and drinking too much may put a person at risk for developing all kinds of cancers. But they could also increase the risk of osteoporosis, according to the National Institutes of Health. Smoking makes it more difficult for body to retain calcium, and alcoholism has also been connected with a higher osteoporosis risk, according to the NIH. In addition – just like muscles – bones become stronger when they’re used regularly, so leading an active lifestyle may enhance bone health while also bringing a person closer to achieving other health objectives. The same goes for proper weight management – being underweight or overweight have both been linked to poor bone health.
Consume low-fat dairy, and other calcium-fortified substances
Most people may assume that some foods are better for bone health than others, but not everyone may know which are best. The National Institutes of Health points out that many supermarkets and other food services provide calcium-fortified versions of foods that may not have originally been loaded with calcium, including tofu, soy milk and orange juice. Leafy vegetables, Chinese cabbage and nuts are also NIH-approved for the calcium content. But drinking low-fat milk may be the easiest way to boost a person’s calcium intake.