Despite the fact that it forms your body’s structural framework, bone health is often overlooked. Here are 3 simple ways to start showing your bones some love.
Did you know that the adult human body has 206 bones, of which 26 of those bones are found in the human foot? And did you know that bone mass peaks in your 30s, and then declines?
Bone health is a topic that is often overlooked, but always important to keep in mind. Osteoporosis, which is a disease that causes bones to become brittle and weak, is more prevalent than you think.
About 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men over 50 are suffering from this disease. Yet, according to a 2017 survey, only 50% of Americans are currently taking steps to prevent bone loss.
It’s time to change that, so let’s get to know a few things you can do to strengthen your bones — starting now.
Tip 1: Add prunes to your diet
A growing body of research suggests that prunes may have a positive effect on bone health. In fact, one study found that eating 5-6 prunes daily may help to prevent bone loss. This may be, in part, because prunes contain potassium, magnesium and vitamin K, all of which are important for healthy bones. Here are four ways you can incorporate prunes into your diet.
- On their own. Snack on individual prunes as a tasty, chewy treat without any added sugar.
- In marinades. Prune purée can add a subtle richness to a variety of dishes.
- In baked goods. Prunes can add a moisture to meat entrées and baked goods and improve the texture. Add pureed prunes to cakes and sweet breads to turn up the flavor.
- In bars. Make these prune and berry bars, which has a subtle moisture and sweetness that pairs perfectly with the dates and almonds we used for the crust.
Tip 2: Make Exercise a Thing
Similar to muscle, bone is living tissue. When you exercise, it responds by getting stronger. Those who exercise regularly typically achieve maximum bone density and strength. But for most of us, bone mass peaks during our thirties, and then it starts to steadily decline.
One of the best things you can do to prevent bone loss is exercise regularly. In addition to making our bones stronger, exercise helps to promote balance and coordination. This can prevent falls and fractures, which is critical as we age.
How much exercise do you need? Generally speaking, 150 minutes of moderate cardio per week and 2 days of strength training is recommended. Weight bearing exercise, which makes you work against gravity, is the best for bone health. Think lifting weights, walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, tennis, and dancing.
Tip 3: Get Your Calcium and Vitamin D On
Calcium is critical for our bones. In fact, according to the National Institute of Health, inadequate calcium significantly contributes to the development of osteoporosis.
Adults aged 19 to 70 need about 1000 mg of calcium per day. Fortified oatmeal, sardines, cheddar cheese, milk, yogurt, soybeans, and tofu all have about 200 mg of calcium per serving. For our dairy-free friends, there are many other plant-based sources of calcium; it’s also important to note that soy milk, almond milk and cashew milk are typically fortified with calcium.
Vitamin D is also critical for bone health because the body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. It can be obtained through the sun, with supplements, and through Vitamin D-rich foods such as egg yolks, saltwater fish, liver, and fortified milk. Most people need about 600 IU (International Units) of vitamin D per day.
Do what you can now, and keep your bones healthy and strong as the years roll by.
Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: NIKOLAI CHERNICHENKO
Wendy Lopez, MS, RD, CDE and Jessica Jones, MS, RD, CDE are the founders of the popular food blog Food Heaven Made Easy. As Registered Dietitians and certified diabetes educators, they started Food Heaven as a creative outlet for two friends with a passion for spreading the word about delicious, nutritious living that’s cost-effective and simple. Learn more about Wendy and Jessica at Food Heaven Made Easy.