Having strong bones matters to all of us. In a perfect world, we would have developed strong bones at a young age by being active, having a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals and limited processed foods (that leach calcium from our bones).
But don’t stress if you didn’t get off to such a great start; you’re not doomed. However, you’ll now have to be more diligent and thoughtful about your lifestyle choices in order to prevent conditions like osteopenia (low bone mass) and osteoporosis (brittle bones) which have become more and more common at a cross section of ages and are very, very debilitating.
Here are my top lifestyle choices to help prevent strengthen bones and prevent weakness – at any age.
1) Bone Strengthening Exercises
Bones need to be impacted on physically though outside forces to get stronger. Here are some specific forms beneficial for bone strengthening:
- Weight training
- Martial arts
- Wall climbing
- Racquet sports
- Brisk walks
For those at risk of developing osteoporosis, specific resistance training may be the most beneficial form of exercise to get into. If you’re adverse to gyms and health clubs, I’d contact a gym near you and request a personal trainer with experience who has helped people with osteoporosis – she/he may in fact change your life.
2) Bone-strengthening food choices (that allow you to absorb your calcium)
Calcium is certainly the most abundant mineral in the body making up 99% of our bones and teeth. By eating a variety of whole food sources rich in calcium and the supporting nutrients you should be able to meet your daily requirements. If you’re concerned about osteoporosis then supplementation form calcium citrate might be needed. If you’re curious about exact requirements and supplementation read this resource by trusty Dr. Weil.
Here are a few calcium sources to consider:
- Grass fed pastured milk, yogurt and cheese
- Sesame, chia seeds and almonds
- Canned sustainable sardines and salmon (edible bones)
- Beans and legumes prepared properly
- Green leafy vegetables like Kale, beet greens and radish greens
- Non-GMO and organic Tofu (calcium is used to make Tofu)
As well as being involved directly in strengthening our bones, Vitamin D (from healthy sun exposure; also found in cod liver oil, fish and eggs), vitamin C (a variety of vegetables), vitamin E (nuts and seeds), vitamin K (green leafy vegetables, fermented foods, spring onions), magnesium, and boron (beets and avocados) assist in the absorption of calcium.
3) Supplement with Collagen (it can really help!)
Collagen is the main protein found in bones that we can get from bone broths and supplementing with a grass fed collagen powder (my favourite brand here). It contains the amino acids glycine, proline and lysine, which help build bone, muscle, ligaments and other tissues.
Interested in making your own Bone Broth? Here’s how I was taught to make it:
- 4 liters of water
- 2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 stalks celery
- 2 stack carrots
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 whole onion
- 1 bay leaf
- 2–4 pounds bones
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Place all ingredients in a large pot and add the water
- Bring to a boil and then simmer for 12–24 hours. The longer it cooks, the tastier it’ll be and the more nutrients will be drawn from the bones
- Once its cooked, leave it on the stove to cool. Then strain out the carrots, onion and celery. You can compost the veggies, or eat them like I do (maybe not the onion, but it does get really sweet and tasty).
You can store the broth in your fridge and drink a little bit of it daily, or you can use whatever cups are needed for your sauce, stew and soup.
4) Eat Foods rich in Omega 3’s
Omega 3’s play a role in preventing bone loss and making sure new bone tissue is being formed. Here are several food sources from a previous blog.
As you can see, a combination of weight bearing exercises and bone building foods is truly a recipe that’ll keep you on your feet (literally) for a long time.
Cheers to healthy bones.