Unhealthy habits that affect your bones
You always hear of the importance of taking care of your bones and keep them healthy and strong, especially as a woman, in order to prevent osteoporosis after menopause.
Here are a few avoidable habits that can affect the wellness of your bone health, as listed below:
Inadequate intake of calcium
Calcium should be adequately consumed in your diet to keep your bones healthy and maintain normal blood calcium levels. When there is insufficient calcium in your body, the hypothyroid gland increases its secretion in order to maintain the right levels in the blood, and in doing so, removes calcium from your bones. This also happens during pregnancy and breastfeeding, which is why more calcium is required during these times.
The best sources for calcium
Milk and dairy products are the richest sources and have the highest absorption of calcium in your body. Other good sources are sardines, almonds and spinach which have a lower absorption of calcium as compared to dairy products.
Diets which are generally low in Bone-building vitamins and minerals
Minerals such as phosphorous, considered one of the important minerals in building bones and teeth is one such example. Vitamins A and K also play a role in building proteins that bind with calcium and phosphorous in order to synthesise bones. Phosphorous is found in the same foods that are rich in calcium. Vitamin A is found in yellow-orange fruits and vegetables such as carrots and apricots, while the richest sources of vitamin K are green, leafy vegetables.
Good to know:
Fad diets? Fewer nutrients!
Fad diets typically contain fewer calories. This in turn means less calcium and other essential nutrients needed for healthy bones!
Low sun exposure
The sun is one of main sources of vitamin D in addition to cod liver oil and vitamin D-fortified milk. Vitamin D increases calcium and phosphorous absorption, enhances their uptake by the bones, and keeps their levels stable in the blood. A continued shortage of vitamin D can lead to osteoporosis in the future.
Lack of exercise and activity
Exercise increases calcium and phosphorous mineralization in bones, which in turn reduces the risk of developing weak bones.
Smoking decreases bone mass, leads to osteoporosis and increases the risk of bone breakage.
Drinking carbonated beverages
A popular controversy focused on the content of phosphoric acid in carbonated beverages and its effect on bone health. However, recent studies have shown that with adequate calcium in a diet the net effect of phosphoric acid on bones is negligible. The negative effect of drinking carbonate beverages and bone density is because they replace other healthier beverages like milk and fresh fruit juices.
Excessive salt in food
Sodium and calcium are excreted together from the body through the kidneys, so the more salt you add, the more it increases calcium loss.
Good to know
Research shows that incorporating healthy lifestyle habits, exercising regularly and exposure to the sun leads to healthy bones and a reduced risk of developing osteoporosis.
To maintain your bone health, it is important to take the above precautions into consideration: following a diet rich in vitamins and minerals especially calcium, getting enough exposure to the sun (at least 20 minutes three times per week), exercising regularly, stopping smoking, avoiding carbonated beverages and reducing salt in your diet.