Broken bones are a pain, both literally and figuratively! They slow you down, create long-lasting pain, and cost a lot of money to fix. The good news? You can strengthen your bones to reduce the possibility of a break. Drinking lots of milk as a kid was a good start, but you can do much more.
Pair calcium and vitamin D
Your mom probably told you to drink lots of milk for strong bones–and she was right! Milk isn’t the only source of calcium — yogurt, cheese, and spinach are good as well. But calcium alone isn’t enough. Vitamin D helps your body absorb and use calcium more efficiently. You can get Vitamin D through enriched foods, a supplement, or 10-15 minutes of sun exposure per day. If you’re not sure how much Vitamin D you’re already getting, have a doctor check your levels at your next appointment.
Ditch the acid
Acidic foods strip calcium from your bones. Common acidic foods include soda, sugar, some meats, and packaged food. Replace those with more fruits and veggies. In addition to cutting down on your acid intake, fruits and vegetables contain other minerals that are good for your bones (magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin K, to name a few).
Up the potassium
To counteract the acidic foods you do still eat, try potassium, which neutralizes the acids that remove calcium from the body. Bananas, salmon, spinach, and avocado are good sources of potassium.
Check your coffee, alcohol, and cigarettes
All three reduce your body’s ability to absorb calcium. Partaking of coffee and alcohol in moderation should be sufficient to help your bones. Since smoking damages practically every body system, consider giving up cigarettes completely.
Jump! Climb! Lift!
High-impact/weight-bearing exercise strengthens your bones significantly. The great thing is that many weight-bearing exercises can be fun. Try hiking, jump-roping, or tennis for some good bone-building exercise. Hate those stairs at home or work? Climbing stairs increases bone density too. Weight-lifting is also good for bones, so carrying a child or heavy bag strengthens your bones.
Follow these steps to reduce your chance of broken bones and osteoporosis and live a happier, healthier life!