The human body is a complex structure of muscles and tissues. But what binds them all together by providing support is the frame made from bones. Bones are nothing but calcified muscles and tissues. They together maintain the perfect posture, give strength to the body, and balance it well. Maintaining healthy strong bones is imperative at all ages; in childhood for providing a frame to the growth of limbs, during youth to stay put all day long, and during old-age for mobility.
And then there are some more hidden functions that these bones support. If ignored, weaker bones can lead to a multitude of health issues. So let’s explore the importance of strong bones, and the various ways to keep them that way.
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Importance of Strong Bones
Healthy bones are essential for comfortable movement in our daily tasks. A myth around the bones is that, unlike skin or tissues, they are not reformed or renewed.
However, the reality is opposite to this. Our bones also keep changing by renewing themselves every few months. The old ones break down and the new ones take their place eventually. The way our skin regenerates faster when we are young, bones also renew themselves faster while we are young. And this is important for many reasons:
Osteoporosis is a medical condition where bones become extremely brittle. The bones get weaker when they do not have enough bone mass reserved inside them. This usually happens as we near our 30s. This is the time when the bone regeneration rate is slower than the rate at which they are wearing out.
We rapidly lose bone mass and this makes them weak over time leading to a condition called osteoporosis. It gets easier for bones to get cracked and fractured from hereon and men are more susceptible to it than women owing to their more physical routines.
To tackle this, it is always better to have reserved bone mass with you when you start entering your 30s.
Necessary for Routine Tasks
All of our routine tasks need support from our bodies for accurate movements and proper posture. Without a supportive frame, none of us would be able to even simply go by our daily tasks.
Children would not be able to walk or play; men wouldn’t be able to work at their desks or on the field, and women would neither be able to do their household chores or office work. Thus, the support that our body needs just to get up from our beds and start our day comes from the bones.
Protects Inner Organs
Apart from providing a structure to our whole body, bones act as a protective casing for all the major internal organs like the heart, brain, and pelvic organs. Without them, a single blow to such sensitive and vital organs could be deadly enough to kill us right after the blow.
Enhances Athletic Performance
Exercise helps to enhance bone strength and density. The more we exercise, the more bone mass we build. This is why the athletes who have built their bone mass before their 30s are less prone to diseases like osteoporosis in their later years. That said, you can start exercising at any age and it is sure to bear fruits for your bones.
High-impact exercises with weights like stair-climbing, running, jogging, etc, helps in increasing bone density and maintaining it. But if you are unable to perform such intense exercise, opt for low-impact exercises like aerobics and stair-step machines. Also, do not forget to consult your doctor before choosing your best exercise in case you are suffering from weak bones.
Best Foods for Strong Bones
As we grow old, the body slows down and so does the regeneration process of bones. This leads to the advent of many bone-related problems. Other than this, you might face slower regeneration of bones due to a disease or deficiency specifically interfering with bone health.
This leads to multiple issues that need to be prevented by strengthening them in varied ways, one of which is supporting bone health through a certain kind of food.
Eggs are famed to be rich in Vitamin D; the bone vitamin. A single egg contains around 4-6% of the Recommended Daily Intake value. It is required by the bones to absorb calcium and thus gain strength. And while talking about the eggs, many people tend to throw away the yolk. Do not throw away the yolk as it does more good than the harm, it has good fat needed by the body.
Yogurt has all the important nutrients necessary for good bone health; Vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus, proteins, and potassium. All of these together are known to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Yogurt is also known to preserve bone mass.
When we think of healthy bones, all that comes to mind is calcium and Vitamin D needed to absorb it. But the fact is, many other minerals are needed for strong bones. For example, 50% of the body’s magnesium is hidden in our bones. And low magnesium levels mean calcium loss and weaker bones.
Thus, it is imperative to replenish magnesium reserves of the body for strong bones. Add some good seeds in your diet for it as most of them are rich in magnesium. And Pumpkin seeds happen to be at the top of that spectrum.
Terrasoul Superfoods Pumpkin Seeds
This 2lbs pack from Terrasoul contains organic pumpkin seeds that are rich not only in magnesium but proteins and essential fatty acids too. The seeds are USDA certified, non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegan.
A known powerhouse of nutrients, spinach is a great source of calcium. It is specifically good for people who do not consume dairy. Just a single cup of cooked spinach contains 20-25% of your Recommended Daily Intake value of calcium.
So, for strong bones, simply add a spinach bowl to your daily meal. It is always better to have your spinach steamed than cooked as cooking causes the loss of a majority of the nutrients in the process.
Bones, as we know, aren’t lifeless. They are living organs and keep regenerating. And to add bone mass, they must regenerate faster than they wear out. Nuts play a great role in helping them perform this task. They are rich in Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALAs) that decreases the rate at which the bones breakdown.
So, the nuts that are high in ALAs are a great way to have strong bones. Add walnuts, or Brazil nuts to your diet to have strong bones. Alternatively, you can also add certain kinds of oils in your diet that happen to be rich in ALAs. Walnut oil, flaxseed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil are a few examples of such oils.
I’m A Nut Brazil Nuts
This 2 pounds pack of Brazil nuts are certified organic, non-GMO, vegan, and Kosher. They are a rich source of ALAs.
Fresh Orange Juice
We all know that oranges are loaded with Vitamin C which helps in synthesizing collagen. Collagen is necessary to add to a healthy bone structure. Additionally, oranges are also rich in Vitamin A that helps in skeletal growth.
Start your morning with a glass of fresh orange juice to have strong bones. Steer clear of all the packaged options and stale ones as they are almost devoid of the nutrients.
Cheese is undoubtedly rich in calcium, protein, and a lot of Vitamin D. Having cheese can ensure the prevention of osteoporosis by making the bones stronger and healthier.
Do not forget to have it in moderation though as cheese is rich in fats and sodium and can cause obesity and high blood pressure if taken in an uncontrolled manner.
Tofu has been an important source of calcium, protein, and potassium, all essential food for strong bones. It has also been proven to prevent bone loss.
Supplements for Strong Bones
Having a healthy diet can help make your bones stronger and healthier over time. But then there are times when the loss of bone mass is greater than its production. This could be due to many factors like old age, osteoporosis, or any other bone-related illness.
For such times, it is always good to use the best supplement for strong bones. Make sure to have a safe and natural supplement as it will have no side-effects. Here is a list of a few good ones.
Calcium being the most important nutrient to have strong bones plays a big role while choosing the best supplement for strong bones. That said, not all types of calcium supplements are absorbed well by the body. The best ones are in the chelated form like calcium lactate, calcium citrate, or calcium gluconate (Ref 1). Look for these forms of calcium in a supplement to have an instant effect on your weak bones.
Nature’s Bounty Calcium
This pack has 120 soft gels capsules that have calcium and Vitamin D3 packed inside each to support bone health. The formulation is gluten-free, dairy-free, and has no artificial additives.
As we know our bones store more than 50% magnesium of the body to stay strong, it is important to keep this percentage of magnesium intact in them. Without it, the skeletal structure will weaken rather sooner as magnesium also supports calcium’s functioning inside bones (Ref 2). If you are unable to add magnesium-rich foods in your diet, it is best to have it in supplement form.
Doctor’s Best Magnesium
This 240-tablet pack from Doctor’s Best has magnesium in the chelated form that quickly absorbs into the body and starts strengthening your bones right away. The formulation is vegan, non-GMO, soy-free, and gluten-free.
Vitamin D is needed by the body to absorb the calcium effectively (Ref 3). Without it, our bones will not reform and repair themselves. Vitamin D can be best taken from the sun. But if it is impossible to have it that way for lack of sunshine or time to spend outdoors, taking it as a supplement is recommended.
NatureWise Vitamin D3
This 360-capsule pack from NatureWise has 125mcg of Vitamin D3 packed in every serving which is enough to make your bones stronger. The formulation is non-GMO and gluten-free.
Boron has been linked with better absorption of calcium by the body. Additionally, it helps in using many vitamins and minerals by the body that are effective in the treatment of osteoporosis. It has been proven as a great supplement for strong bones.
Do not forget to take it in a limited quantity. The Recommended Dietary Intake prescribes just 3-5 mg of it. Excess of it may lead to feelings of nausea, fatigue, and vomiting.
Life Extension Boron Capsules
This pack of 100 vegetarian capsules has 3 mg Boron every serving. Just having a single capsule will give you strong bones and joints.
Silica also helps a great deal in strengthening bones, tendons, and ligaments. This makes the whole skeletal healthier and stronger. Taking around 25-50 mg every day can help address the issue of osteoporosis (Ref 4). The range of the quantity has been decided depending on the severity of the condition. Silicon serves as a great supplement for strong bones and the whole structure.
Solgar Oceanic Silica
This pack of 100 vegetarian capsules from Solgar are each packed with 25 mg of silica. The silica has been derived from the oceanic red-algae and is suitable for vegans. It is non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, Kosher, and is also free from any artificial sweeteners, salts, and colors.
Q. Which foods are bad for my bones?
Different foods have different impacts on your bones. You need to be careful while choosing a food item as it may hurt your bone health. Let’s find out which foods are bad for our bones:
Salty food items
Consuming excessive salt will lead to the production of calcium in your body. This sudden change is harmful to your bones. Ensure to limit your daily salt consumption to a maximum of 2,300 mg.
Sipping a cup of tea or coffee is okay but consuming caffeine-rich foods in large amounts will lead to bone loss. Calcium absorption is greatly reduced in your body when it encounters high levels of caffeine.
Excess consumption of anything is bad and alcohol is the biggest example of this. Consuming it moderately is fine but overloading your system with alcohol will lead to bone loss.
Q. Can exercise help in building strong bones?
Regular exercise is important not only for your overall health but also for your bones in particular. Along with positively affecting your bones, exercise also helps your body in building balance, increasing coordination, and enhancing muscle strength. Bones are live tissues just like a muscle and respond quickly to any kind of workout. However, they respond the best to resistance exercises and weight-bearing ones. You can consider including jogging, swimming, dancing, hiking, and bicycling to your routine as well.
Bones provide basic strength to our bodies making it essential for us to provide them adequate nutrition. Focus on including the foods good for bones in your daily diet while sticking to an exercise routine. Support your bones with their additional needs by consuming the supplements for strong bones when the need arises.