10 Ways to Keep Your Bones Healthy

Among the best vitamin C sources, vegetables boost bone-forming cell production. Vitamin C's antioxidant effects may protect bone cells, research suggests. Yellow and green vegetables help build and maintain bone mass in children and young adults. Plenty of vegetables help older women.

Consume Vegetables



Weight-bearing or high-impact exercise builds bone. Studies on children found it increases bone growth during peak growth. It can also prevent bone loss in seniors. Strength-training helps younger and older women prevent bone loss by building muscle.

Lift weights and strengthen



Protein is necessary for bone health. About 50% of bone is protein. Low protein intake may affect calcium absorption, bone formation, and breakdown. But watch out. Protein excess removes bone calcium. Limit protein to 3.5 ounces per day and eat lots of plant foods and calcium.

Eat Enough Protein



Most people need 1,000 mg of calcium daily, but teens need 1,300 mg and older women 1,200 mg. Food calcium is better than supplements.In a recent study, calcium supplements increased heart disease risk by 22% while food calcium intake decreased it.

Eat Calcium-Rich Foods



Vitamins D and K strengthen bones. Vitamin D aids calcium absorption. People with low vitamin D levels have lower bone density and are more likely to lose bone. Sunlight and fatty fish, liver, and cheese may provide enough vitamin D. 

Get enough D and K



Dieting too much can damage bones. Studies show that diets under 1,000 calories per day lower bone density. A balanced diet with at least 1,200 calories per day builds and maintains strong bones. The diet should include protein and bone-healthy vitamins and minerals.

Avoid Very Low-Calorie Diets



Evidence suggests collagen supplements may protect bones. The main protein in bones is collagen. Glycine, proline, and lysine build bone, muscle, ligaments, and other tissues. Gelatin, rich in collagen, has long relieved joint pain.

Consider Collagen



Bone health benefits from weight control. Low weight is the main cause of bone loss in older people. As weight-related stress increases fracture risk, obesity can also degrade bone quality. Frequently losing and regaining weight can damage bones.

Stay Healthy Weight



Minerals other than calcium are important for bone health. Zinc and magnesium matter too. Magnesium converts vitamin D to calcium-absorbing form. Zinc promotes bone-building and prevents bone loss. Most foods contain trace amounts of magnesium, but magnesium glycinate, citrate, or carbonate may be beneficial.

Magnesium and Zinc-Rich Foods



Omega-3 fatty acids are known to reduce inflammation. They also prevent bone loss with age. Mackerel, salmon, sardines, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 Fat-Rich Foods



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