It can be easy to take our bodies for granted and assume we will stay perfectly fit and healthy for years to come. However, unless you’re making a conscious effort to stay healthy, this may not be the case. This includes taking proper care of your bones. While bone health may be one of the last things on your mind, ensuring they stay nourished is extremely important, especially as you age. Read here to discover the importance of our bones, and we can best support their health.
What Are Your Bones Made Of And Why Does It Matter?
Bones are made of living, growing tissue. Primarily, bone is made of the protein collagen. Collagen offers a soft framework for your body. Then there are several minerals, like calcium phosphate, for instance, that support your bone mineral density and add strength by helping to harden your bone framework.1 What’s so special about the collagen and calcium duo? These compounds help make your bones flexible and strong. And strong, flexible bones are able to better withstand injury and stress than weaker bones.2 Believe it or not, approximately 99 percent of your body’s calcium is actually contained within your bones and teeth. Of course, there are traces of calcium found in your bloodstream as well.3,4
Importance Of Bones: Risk Factors Associated With Poor Bone Health
Although bones will stop growing in length in early adulthood, they may continue to grow in density. Until you reach about 30 years of age, your bones are at peak bone mass and your body is able to create new bone pretty quickly.5 After you hit age 30 or so, however, your body’s bone-building ability naturally changes and bone loss may begin.6,7 Bone health issues are generally characterized by lower bone mass. Sometimes the structural deterioration of your bone tissue can play a role here too.8 Porous bones can sometimes lead to fragility in your bones and an even higher risk of certain types of bone fractures — namely fractures of the wrist, spine, and hips. One of the issues with this type of bone health concern is that you’ll really have no warning of weakened bone because there are not usually many symptoms leading up to a bone fracture.9 To help avoid this from happening, you’ll make to make sure you’re getting the proper nutrients your bones need to stay strong and healthy.
Bone Health And Nutrition
A well-balanced diet can go a long way to keeping your bones as healthy as possible. Of course, this means you should include plenty of lectin-free vegetables in your diet. Certain fruits and vegetables can help provide more calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin K. These vitamins and nutrients are essential for bone health.10,11 One thing to remember is that if your body isn’t getting enough calcium from a well-balanced diet, it will start to poach calcium from your bones — this can weaken them.12 So then, how might you enrich your diet with calcium? Here are some of the best calcium-rich foods to keep in your kitchen – all of which are Dr. Gundry-approved.
- Casein A2 milk, goat milk, or buffalo milk
- Leafy greens (kale, bok choy, collard greens)
- Wild-caught sardines or wild-caught salmon
- Blanched almonds
Other Potential Ways To Support Bone Health
Vitamin D — Vitamin D plays a significant role when it comes to calcium absorption and maintaining proper bone health. And the synthesis of vitamin D takes place in your skin when you are exposed to sunlight.16 So, if you live in an area of the world that doesn’t get a lot of sun exposure or you spend much of your time indoors, you may want to talk to your doctor about the best way to get more vitamin D. They may recommend taking a vitamin D supplement or increasing your vitamin D intake through foods. You’ll find vitamin D in the following lectin-free food sources:
- Wild-caught fish
- Omega-3 egg yolk
- Grass-fed liver17
Vitamin K is also important as it can activate the osteocalcin protein — this protein is essential when it comes to building bone and helping weakened bone to rebuild strength.18 To find your vitamin K in food, try getting the following ingredients on your plate:
- Olive oil19
Exercise — Because your bones, like your muscles, are living, growing tissue, exercise may also be a great way to support their health. Some National Institutes of Health (NIH government) sites recommend weight-bearing exercise as a particularly great way to support bone strength. Weight-bearing exercise ensures you are working against gravity. Resistance exercises may also be great for supporting bone health. Talk to your doctor about incorporating the following types of exercises into your routine:
- Climbing steps
- Playing tennis
- Lifting weights20
Bone Health: Follow These Tips And Tricks
Diet and exercise can go a long way when it comes to supporting the health of your bones. It’s important to get the proper nutrients your bones need to stay strong and healthy— especially if you’re over 30 years of age. Load up on lectin-free foods that are rich in vitamin D, vitamin K and calcium. Start a workout routine and incorporate some bone-support exercises. Just make sure to get your doctor’s approval first. They may have other suggestions for supporting your bone health as well. Sources 1 https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/bone-health/what-is-bone 2 https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/bone-health/what-is-bone 3 https://www.nursece.com/courses/29 4 https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis/osteoporosis-hoh#8 5 https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis/bone-mass 6 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3839846 7 http://www.fao.org/3/a-y2809e.pdf 8 https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis/overview 9 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4138897/ 10 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14765619 11 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18996783 12 https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/why-its-so-important-to-feed-teens-well-during-growth-spurts/2018/04/03/c8d2cf98-2c7c-11e8-b0b0-f706877db618_story.html 13 https://www.nof.org/patients/treatment/calciumvitamin-d/a-guide-to-calcium-rich-foods/ 14 https://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/calcium-rich-foods/slide/11 15 http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=126 16 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/13680103 17 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16618499 18 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18695375 19 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3321250/ 20 https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/bone-health/exercise/exercise-your-bone-health