Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Recipe for Building Better Bones

Although it is more common in older people, osteoporosis is a serious health condition that can affect people of all ages. It’s characterized by brittle or fragile bones that easily break or fracture. To date, I've not broken any bones but as I age I am well aware that bone mass naturally reduces as we get older. Thus, the risk of developing osteoporosis can also increase. Add certain health conditions, medications and a lack of certain nutrients, and your risk can go even higher. Fortunately, I've put together a recipe of things you can do to help protect your bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Remember being told to drink your milk to get strong bones? As it turns out, there is some truth to this; some truth.

Calcium forms around forty percent of the mineral mass of human bones. So as we get older, in order to keep bones healthy and prevent degenerative bone conditions like osteoporosis, it is essential to ensure adequate calcium intake. However, while milk and dairy products are rich in calcium, and can form part of a healthy diet, dairy is not always essential. Spinach and other leafy green vegetables also contain the bone building stuff. But if your calcium levels are particularly low, supplementation may also be needed. Your doctor will be able to offer advice if you are found to be calcium deficient.

Vitamin D is needed to enable the proper absorption of calcium. Vitamin D is made by the human body when skin is exposed to sunlight. While it is important to protect your skin from over exposure to sunlight, it is also important to spend time outdoors when the sun is shining. In some cases, vitamin D supplementation can also be needed. However, sensible exposure to sunlight is the most convenient way to ensure adequate vitamin D levels.

Vitamin C
Did you know that vitamin C is essential for the production of collagen, and did you know that collagen forms an important part of bone development and health? It’s what helps bones have a little “give & bend.” Otherwise, a bone made up of only calcium would snap at every turn! So, for healthy bones, be sure to get your fill of a vitamin C containing foods like citrus fruits, broccoli, kiwi fruit and red peppers. Don’t forget to stay away from smoking. Smokers, in particular, may need to increase their intake of foods rich in vitamin C, as smoking depletes vitamin C stores within the body.

Regular exercise is important for maintaining healthy bones and preventing bone disease. Weight-bearing exercise, such as walking or jogging, can help to strengthen bones. Most types of exercise will also help to form muscle tissue, which supports and protects your bones, in addition to increasing your bone mass. Regular walking, cycling, swimming or even gardening will help to reduce your risk of osteoporosis.

While “weight bearing exercise” is beneficial to the body and bones, physically being overweight puts increased strain on your body, including your joints. On the other hand, being underweight can lead to reduced bone mass. Ideally, you should aim to keep your weight within the recommended limits for your age group. A healthy diet and regular exercise is the best way to stabilize weight.

Other Factors
Smoking and excessive alcohol intake can weaken your ability to build and maintain strong bones, as they tend to deplete the body of the required nutrients for maintaining bone health. And be sure to talk to your doctor about the affects prescribed medications can have on your bone health and development.

I’ve personally helped clients with osteopenia and osteoporoses improve their bone density and strength. So, if you need help just contact me at 713-562-2474. They’re your bones, treat them with respect.

As always – enjoy your life.

John Aaron Villarreal

Bio: I am a Houston based, male massage therapist and wellness coach specializing in pain management and health programs for individuals over the age of forty. I laugh - a lot. I'm quirky but sincere. And, while I'm not a counselor, I do listen and I do care: Except for the times that I don't. That’s a joke - Did I mention that I like to laugh? Anyway, visit my website, call or email me and let's get together to talk about you, and the many ways to live life better!

The Legal Stuff: I write to inform, inspire and encourage my readers to enjoy all that life has to offer.
The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise, diet or wellness program. 

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