Bones give us structure and serve as the foundation for our bodies. Building bone strength is extremely important, especially in today’s day and age. The modern lifestyle and poor eating habits can cause bone deterioration and the painful disease of osteoporosis, resulting in brittle and fragile bones. We have four ways to increase bone density and strength. But before we jump into the solution to the problem, let us get an in-depth understanding of what bone density is and how it is measured.
What is bone density and how is it measured?
Bone density is the amount of bone minerals, mostly calcium and phosphorus, present in a certain volume of bone tissue. A bone density test is done to measure the solidity and compactness of the bone by measuring the amount of bone minerals present per unit volume of bone tissue. There are various methods to do a bone density test.
- DEXA Scan
- CT Scan
- A DEXA scan is the most common and widely accepted method available as it provides doctors with more information about the bone structure
Ways to increase bone density
Here are four ways to increase bone density:
1. Physical Activities & Exercise
Bones last longer and become thicker and stronger with more physical exercise. Lack of movement and exercise can lead to loss of bone mass and weaker bones. Weight training, walking, jogging, and sports like tennis and basketball are great ways to increase bone density.
Low-impact aerobics builds strength in the muscles and the bones of the lower body. Using dumbbells and weights to exercise strengthens the bone structure of the upper body. Remember to move slowly and protect your joints while working out with weights.
2. Increase Your Calcium Intake
Bones are constantly being remodelled, as new bones are formed and old bones are reabsorbed. The presence of calcium helps in this process. It also plays an essential part in muscle contraction and blood clotting.
Bones act as storage containers for calcium in our bodies. With a lack of consumption of calcium, our bodies take it from the bones to increase its levels in the bloodstream. An increased intake of calcium not only increases bone density but also remains deposited in the bones for later use. 1000 mg of calcium per day is the minimum required amount for healthy bones. Dairy products, salmon, kale, broccoli, and oranges are great sources of calcium. The mineral also requires sufficient vitamins to be absorbed properly. Hence, make sure to expose yourself to sunlight for at least 30 minutes a day.
3. Add Magnesium to Your Diet
People with a higher intake of magnesium have better bone density. Consume nuts like almonds, cashews, and walnuts for breakfast. Flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds are also great sources of magnesium.
Consuming a glass of water with lemon juice and a tablespoon of chia seeds not only increases your magnesium intake, but the vitamin C in lemon is essential for collagen as it supports bone building.
4. Consume Protein-rich Snacks
Almost 50% of our bones are made up of protein. This macronutrient is highly essential for bone growth. It also helps in the better absorption of calcium. Protein-rich snacks include a handful of roasted chana, peanuts boiled in salted water, and hummus.
High bone density will not only help you be stronger but also prevent diseases like osteoporosis. These steps will aid in better bone health throughout adulthood.
All image credits: Freepik