In our youth, a lot of us tend to take our bone health for granted. It's easy to do because we don't always think about the fact that our bodies rely on healthy bones when we're feeling good and moving comfortably.
As we age, our bone health can begin to deteriorate due to wear and tear on our ligaments, muscles, and supporting bone tissue. Also, our bones naturally become less dense as we get older because our bodies have a harder time retaining vital nutrients needed for healthy bones.
Bones are mostly made of collagen, a protein that provides the soft framework of our bones. Calcium phosphate is the mineral that hardens and shapes the framework of our skeleton. Most bones also contain bone marrow which is where blood cells are made within the bone.
Bones work with our muscles and joints to hold our bodies together and support movement and active form. As we get older and it becomes harder to move with ease, we can turn to certain vitamins and mineral supplementation to ensure we're supporting our skeletal frame.
However, it's never too early to start caring for your bones in a preventative way to ensure that you don't acquire a more serious bone loss or health issue.
What do healthy bones look like?
Bones are protectors of our brain, heart, and other organs, so they are extremely important to keep strong. Bone tissue is supplied regularly as we grow, but it also is withdrawn the older we get.
During your childhood and teenage years, new bone is added to your bones faster than we lose it which is why we grow and our bone mass gets heavier and stronger. For most people, this continues until after age 20. This is why we tend to take our bones for granted in our youth; we don't have to do much in order to produce new, healthy bone tissue.
By age 30, bone withdrawal tends to happen at a faster pace than we produce new bone mass or bone tissue. This can lead to lower bone density, which may cause more serious bone health issues.
So, healthy bones look like bones that are receiving new bone faster or at the same pace as new bone mass is withdrawn, or deteriorated. This is why we have to eat a healthy diet and focus on delivering vitamins and minerals to our bones that keep them fed.
How can poor bone health be prevented?
Weak bones are the result of low bone density and lack of bone strength. We can prevent this by trying a few things:
maintain a healthy exercise plan
get enough bone-loving nutrients (we will discuss them in the next section)
drink alcohol only in moderation
eat a nutritious diet
If you're serious about your bone health, these 5 tips should be at the top of your priority list. In order to get the right amount of nutrients that feed your bones and keep your bones healthy, you may want to consider taking supplements.
Supplements can take the place of the nutrients that we should be getting from food, but don't always get enough of. Also, if you have a vitamin or mineral deficiency, supplementation can absolutely combat long-term effects. Let's get into what exact nutrients your bones love and where to start when you're looking for supplements to support your bones and muscles.
What are the most essential nutrients for healthy bones and muscles?
As we all know, calcium is super important when it comes to bone health. That's why we've been told from the time we were young to drink our milk because it's full of calcium.
Our bones are the main storage area for calcium in our bodies. While calcium is very important for bones and stored inside of them, calcium is actually also vital for a lot of other bodily functions such as regulating the nervous system.
When you don't consume or retain enough calcium, our bodies tend to pull it from the bones to supply the important mineral to other areas of our function. This can lead to bone weakness and increased risk for more serious bone issues.
Calcium-rich foods include:
Dairy foods like milk, yogurt, and cheese
Dark, Green Leafy Vegetables
Canned Baked Beans
If you find yourself unable to insert these foods into your regular diet, calcium supplements are a great way to increase your intake and ensure you're supporting strong bones.
Getting enough vitamin d is imperative for keeping your bones strong. Calcium actually does not get absorbed without vitamin d. Fortunately, a lot of foods rich in calcium are also rich in vitamin d.
Most of us know that our best source of vitamin d is the sun. Most experts recommend getting at least 15 minutes of direct sunlight each day. However, in the months when we aren't getting much sun exposure, it can be beneficial to increase your vitamin d intake through a healthy diet and also vitamin d supplements.
Foods rich in vitamin d:
Cod liver oil
Leafy green vegetables
Many adult Americans fall under the category of vitamin d deficiency, which is why focusing on a balanced diet with key nutrients is so important.
Magnesium is a lesser-known vital nutrient for bone health. Most of us are aware of vitamin d and calcium as a source to strengthen bones, but magnesium is just as essential!
Being deficient in magnesium has been shown to weaken bone density, while those with higher magnesium levels have been shown to acquire increased bone density. This is why magnesium is so important to protect bone health, especially as we age.
Foods rich in magnesium:
Magnesium may also help you get better sleep, which is also important when it comes to building strong bones. Overall, magnesium is vital for a healthy lifestyle, so if you aren't getting enough in your diet, again, you may want to consider supplementation.
The 3 most important nutrients for healthy bones and muscles are calcium, vitamin d, and magnesium. As we age and our bones weaken, it is especially important to make sure you are getting these nutrients in your diet.
Where your diet lacks, you may want to consider supplementing these nutrients to ensure you're protecting and supporting your bones. As always, it's important to consult your physician when it comes to adding new supplements to your diet.
We hope you learned a thing or two by reading this article, and we're always available to speak with you in our private Facebook Tribe group. Now, go get some leafy greens and sunlight!