It’s no secret that we grow more susceptible to fractures and broken bones as we age. The good news is that there are ways to strengthen our bones as we age to hopefully avoid these life-threatening injuries.
This article will go over 10 natural ways to build healthy bones to help you know How to Feed Your Bones and Increase Bone Density.
1. Enough calcium in your diet
According to mayoclinic.org, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults up until age 50 need 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium each day. Calcium is needed to maintain and support bone mass .
Many different foods are high in calcium. For those who enjoy dairy, 1 cup of milk has 305 mg of calcium. Other great sources of calcium include cheese, yogurt, broccoli, kale, almonds, and dried beans. Sardines and canned fish with bones also provide calcium.
2. The Sunshine Vitamin
Vitamin D is not often linked with healthy bones, but it actually plays an essential role. This vitamin helps the body better absorb and utilize calcium. Consuming enough vitamin D will help protect against diseases like osteoporosis and osteopenia.
Many people are unaware that they have a vitamin D deficiency. To have more vitamin D in your diet, try eating mushrooms, eggs, salmon, tuna, and vitamin D fortified milk and cereals more often.
Sun exposure also helps the body produce vitamin D. Remember that you may still be deficient even if you go outside each day and eat vitamin D-rich food. Make sure to consult your physician about additional supplements that could help you boost your vitamin D intake.
3. Weight-Bearing Exercise
You may be asking yourself, “What activities increase bone density?” The answer is any physical activity that puts added stress on your bones. Weight training is a prime example of load-bearing exercise. By lifting weights, your bones experience microfractures that stimulate bone production, thus resulting in stronger bones.
For those not comfortable in a gym setting, you can try jogging, walking, dancing, climbing stairs, or any high-impact sport like tennis or soccer. Make it a goal to get at least 30 minutes of physical exercise each day.
4. Protein is King
Did you know that 50% of your bones are made up of protein? Consuming an adequate amount of protein each day will help you maintain your bone density. According to mayoclinichealthsystem.org 10-35% of your diet should be protein. This averages out at about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight .
To reach this level of protein, make sure to include lean protein sources in your diet like fish, Greek yogurt, beans, peas, cottage cheese, chicken, beef, and eggs. Protein powder is also a great option to add to your diet.
5. Maintain a Healthy Weight
While this is good advice for a high-quality life, it’s also good advice to have healthy bones. Those who are underweight usually have porous bones that increase the risk of fracturing. On the other hand, those who are overweight or obese can experience fracturing due to excessive stress on their bones.
A good rule of thumb is to strive to maintain a healthy weight and not have drastic fluctuations. Easier said than done, but you can start taking control of your diet one choice at a time.
6. Look into a Collagen Supplement
Collagen is the protein that makes up bone structure. One study by NCBI  showed that postmenopausal women who took specific collagen peptides were able to see an increase in their bone mineral density. Consider adding a collagen supplement to your diet each day to see similar results.
7. Eat Your Veggies
It’s common knowledge that vegetables are great for your health, but they’re also excellent for your bones. Many vegetables contain vitamin C which aids in the production of bone structure cells.
Eating vegetables each day should be a daily goal. They will help you feel great and increase your bone density over time.
8. Add Potassium to Your Diet
Potassium acts as a buffer in the bloodstream. This is important because it helps the body fully utilize nutrients like calcium and phosphorous in the blood, instead of them being flushed out through the body.
One study by PubMed proved that an increased potassium intake showed a positive correlation with bone mass density in men over age 50 and postmenopausal women.
Some food sources rich in potassium include fruits like bananas, oranges, apricots, grapefruit, dates, as well as vegetables like spinach, broccoli, peas, and cucumbers.
9. Avoid Heavy Drinking
According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, individuals who are chronic drinkers are at a higher risk for developing osteoporosis .
When alcohol is introduced to the body, it causes issues such as decreased nutrient absorption and metabolism. This creates an issue when the body can’t absorb or utilize the nutrients you consume, especially calcium and vitamin D.
While there aren’t many studies about moderate alcohol consumption and bone density, the safe rule is to limit your consumption to 1-2 drinks per day or none at all.
10. Avoid Smoking
Smoking is another problematic habit that also reduces calcium absorption. According to UCI Health, when smoke enters the body, it causes blood flow to slow down . This means that fewer nutrients are being carried by the blood to the bones which in turn causes bone cell production to slow down.
For those looking to give up smoking, The American Lung Association has many resources to help you. Quitting this habit will not help your overall wellbeing, but it will help your bone health and decrease the future risk of developing osteoporosis.
So there you have it, 10 different ways to help you keep your bones nice and strong. Try a couple of these suggestions this week and try to make them daily habits to see the best results.