The importance of having strong bones cannot be overstated, and you’re never too old or too young to focus on keeping your bones healthy. In addition to consuming dairy products such as milk, there are a number of other things you can do to make sure your bones are in tip-top condition.
Here are four tips for maintaining healthy bones from our practice’s head orthopedic doctor, Dr. William Hefley:
1. Eat Plenty of Green and Yellow Vegetables
Since the human body is not capable of producing calcium on its own, it’s important that you consume foods that are rich in calcium; otherwise, the body will take it from your bones when needed. Eating plenty of calcium-rich green vegetables is key to making sure you get the recommended daily amount.
Vitamin C also plays a crucial role in ensuring optimal bone health, as it assists in the formation of collagen and stimulates the production of bone-forming cells. Green and yellow vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and squash are a great source of vitamin C and have been shown to help in bone mineralization.
Dark green vegetables such as spinach and kale are loaded with vitamin K, which is another vital nutrient for maintaining bone health. One of the most important functions of vitamin K is to promote the calcification of bones by regulating calcium deposits.
2. Take a Vitamin D Supplement
Without vitamin D, your body cannot absorb calcium properly to support your bones. You can obtain vitamin D in three ways: from sunlight, from your diet, and from supplements. Fatty fish, liver, some dairy products, and fortified orange juice are good sources of vitamin D, but most people don’t get enough via diet and sunshine – so it’s best to take a supplement that has this important vitamin. Talk to your doctor about what is best for you.
3. Exercise Regularly
Exercise does wonders in fostering strong bones like it does for your muscles. Exercising regularly helps to keep your bones dense, and it is also beneficial for maintaining balance and coordination – ultimately helping to prevent falls and related fractures.
4. Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, and Smoking
You may not be surprised to hear that alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine can actually inhibit calcium absorption into your bones.
Studies have long established that cigarette smoking is a risk factor for developing osteoporosis, revealing a direct link between nicotine and decreased bone density. Moreover, studies on the effects of smoking indicate that it increases your risk of getting a fracture, and it also imposes a negative effect on post-fracture bone healing.
Similarly, excessive alcohol consumption has been shown to wreak havoc on the pancreas and its ability to absorb calcium. It also interferes with the body’s natural production of estrogen (in both genders), which is a hormone known to protect your bones.
In regards to the negative effect of caffeine consumption on bone health, Washington State University Professor of Human Nutrition Linda Massey asserts that this could be related to the fact that caffeine is a diuretic, thus it causes frequent urination – which in turn increases loss of calcium in the urine. Massey further states that for every 100 milligrams of caffeine you consume, you can lose about 6 milligrams of calcium.
Skilled Orthopedic Doctor in Little Rock, AR
Bone health is important for the overall health of men and women alike. If you are in or around Little Rock and you’re seeking orthopedic expertise, schedule a visit with Dr. William Hefley. He has decades of experience in diagnosing and treating everyone from young athletes to active adults, and he can help you be your healthiest self.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hefley, call us today at (800) 336-2412. You may also fill out our convenient appointment request form online now. We look forward to seeing you!