10 Ways to Improve Your Bone Health

Posted on December 8, 2015

Osteoporosis affects nearly 200 million women worldwide, according to figures from the International Osteoporosis Foundation. Men also get the disease, but postmenopausal women are at greatest risk. Fortunately, changing certain lifestyle factors can improve your bone health and decrease your likelihood of developing osteoporosis or other bone problems.iStock_000048685980_Small_1.jpg

  1. Boost your calcium intake. Calcium is a mineral that makes bones healthy and strong. Adding calcium to your diet increases the physical strength of your bones. Dairy products such as yogurt, milk, or cheese are good sources of calcium. Non-dairy sources include leafy green vegetables, soy milk, figs, edamame and oranges.
  2. Investigate your family history. Having a parent or close relative with osteoporosis increases your risk. Find out if you have a family history of the disease, which can help your Long Island orthopedic specialist assess your risk.
  3. Add vitamin D. Vitamin D works in conjunction with calcium. The presence of vitamin D helps your body absorb the calcium it needs. Your body makes vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. However, people in northern climes may not get enough. Choose fatty fish, mushrooms and dairy products fortified with the vitamin.
  4. Boost potassium levels. Potassium can help eliminate acids that sweep excess calcium from the body. Thus, keeping potassium levels high indirectly helps bones stay strong. Beans, potatoes, squash, bananas and avocados are good sources of potassium.
  5. Increase consumption of vitamin K. Vitamin K supports the process of adding minerals to bones. Eat spinach, broccoli and kale to get enough.
  6. Consider a supplement. It’s best to get your vitamins and minerals from natural sources. However, if you’re not getting enough, consider taking a daily supplement. Talk to your doctor for recommendations for the best supplement for your age, gender and medical background.
  7. Quit smoking. Nicotine and toxins from cigarette smoke undermine bone health. If you’re a smoker, ask your doctor for recommendations on how to quit.
  8. Perform weight-bearing activities. With bones, it’s important to "use it or lose it." Performing weight-bearing activities keeps bones strong and healthy. Lifting weights or simply staying active through everyday activities can improve your bone health.
  9. Ask if you need a bone density scan. Your Long Island Medical Center doctor can help you decide whether a bone density scan is appropriate. This diagnostic test can determine whether your bones are strong enough.
  10. Keep alcohol consumption within moderate levels. Drinking too much alcohol can make your bones weaker. Women should have no more than 1 drink per day, while men should limit themselves to 2 drinks per day.