Third week of October every year is Bone and Joint Awareness Week in the Philippines by virtue of Proclamation No. 658. This celebration promotes awareness as well as prevention and treatment of various musculoskeletal disorders and conditions including arthritis, back pain, trauma, pediatric conditions and osteoporosis.
Our bones support and allow us to move. It plays many vital roles in our body such as providing structure, protect our organs, anchor muscles and store calcium and phosphorus to keep our bones strong, releasing them into our body when we need them for other uses. Thus, it is very important to build strong and healthy bones during childhood and adolescent years to protect your bone health once you reach adulthood.
Luckily, there are lifestyle habits that we can do to help build strong bones and joints and ways to maintain them as we age. Here are easy ways to develop strong bones:
1. Consume plenty of vegetables. Eating a diet with plenty of vegetables has shown to help build healthy bones during childhood and protect bone mass in adults. These are great sources of vitamin C that stimulates the formation of bone-forming cells and has antioxidant effects that are good in protecting the bone cells from damage. Green and yellow vegetables also help increase bone density that helps measure the amount of calcium and other minerals found in bones.
2. Perform a 30-minute of physical activity such as weight-bearing exercise daily.
Weight-bearing exercises force you to work against gravity. These include walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, playing tennis, and dancing. Doing exercises help increase bone formation during bone growth and protect the health of the bone in older adults, including those with low bone density.
3. Eat enough protein. Low protein intake decreases calcium absorption and may also affect the degree of bone formation and breakdown. While a high protein intake can help protect bone health during aging and weight loss. Some high protein rich foods are meat, egg, milk, cheese, almonds and lentils.
4. Boost your intake of bone supporting nutrients. Increase your intake of the following nutrients for healthy bones:
- Calcium and Magnesium to nourish strong bones
- Vitamin D to maximize calcium absorption
- Zinc, Copper and Manganese to support collagen formation for bone flexibility
5. Maintain a Healthy Weight. In addition to eating a nutritious diet, maintaining a healthy weight can help support bone health. Being too thin or too heavy can negatively affect bone health. However, maintaining a stable weight, rather than repeatedly losing and regaining it, can help preserve bone density.
Remember, if we don’t eat right, not get enough exercise, and do not maintain a healthy weight, our bones will become fragile and even break and may have other long-lasting health problems. It is never too late to take care of our bones, a healthy lifestyle complemented with frequent exercise and a well-balanced diet is the foundation for supporting bone strength and flexibility.
NO I Angelica O. Pajulas
1. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/bone-health/bone-health-life-health-information-basics-you-and-your-family
2. 10 Natural Ways to Build Healthy Bones https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/build-healthy-bones
3. Healthy bones keep you strong and flexible https://www.caltrate.com.au/bone-health-central/articles/bone-and-joint-health