As you age, your bones change. You don't need to look for complicated solutions to prevent a bone disease, such as osteoporosis, from taking away your mobility. Diet and exercise are two ways through which you can keep your bones healthy. Here is how your bones are changing and why modifying your diet and getting more exercise can slow down the damage.
As You Age, an Imbalance Occurs
Throughout your adult life, new cells develop to replace the old worn out bone cells. This cycle maintains a balance that keeps your bones healthy and strong.
As you age, your body produces fewer new bone cells. Bone and cartilage wear away from the ends of the bones in your joints. If you develop a bone disease, such as osteoporosis, the bones wear down faster and even fewer new bones cells are produced. The result is pain and inflammation in the joints where bones are rubbing against each other without the benefit of cartilage to cushion them.
Give Your Body More of What It Needs for Healthy Bones
When you have a diet rich in the materials that your body uses to make new healthy bone cells, you slow down the debilitating effects of worn out bones and bone disease. Calcium is the first material you need because your body doesn't make calcium itself. Vitamin D is the next important element, because it is needed by your body to process the calcium.
Magnesium and potassium are the final two items you need for healthy bones. Magnesium contributes to a strong bone structure. Potassium is used by your muscles, which tug on your bones and stimulate new bone growth.
Eating for Good Bone Health
Your doctor can refer you to a nutritionist who can help you develop the right eating habits to keep your bones in good shape. Your diet will need to include items as:
- Dairy products, such as milk and cottage cheese, which are full of calcium. Look for brands that are fortified with vitamin D to help your body use the calcium.
- Seafood, especially oily fish such as salmon, are full of calcium. Fatty fish, such as tuna, also contain vitamin D.
- Vegetables, such as broccoli and kale, contain calcium. Spinach, tomatoes and potatoes contain the potassium and magnesium that you need.
- Fruits, such as bananas and papayas, contain potassium for your muscles.
Exercise and Bone Growth
Diet alone is not a complete solution to maintaining healthy bones as you age. Bones respond to the pull of muscles and tendons on them by producing new bone cells. When you become inactive, your bones no longer have that stimulus.
By just walking, you stimulate the growth of bone in the ankle, knee and hip joints. A simple 35-minute walk every day will help you stay healthy. If you can't get out to walk, a stationary bike will help. If you live in a retirement center, look for an exercise or walking group with which you can become involved.
By changing your diet and exercise, you'll keep yourself mobile and active. If you do develop a bone diseases, such as osteoporosis and arthritis, you'll slowdown their progress.