The importance of good bone health can best be demonstrated by realizing the consequences of poor bone health. Over time, bone disease can lead to a steady decrease in the ability to perform everyday normal functions such as walking, standing, or dressing. Bone disease can also lead to hip fractures, which - depending on your age and overall health - can be debilitating and even deadly. What can you do to ensure bone health as you age? Here are a few suggestions:
Exercise Regularly; Especially the Weight-Bearing Variety. In the past few decades, mounting evidence suggests that most people do not participate in enough physical exercise to support strong skeletal growth. A research review published in Sports Health emphasizes that weight-bearing exercises, especially those that include higher levels of strain such as running or jumping, can be effective in enhancing bone health and preventing future diseases and injury.
Eat Right and Take Bone-Building Supplements. Due to the mass consumption of processed, overcooked and nutrient-depleted foods, most people absorb and utilize too little calcium and vitamin D for good bone health - even if they're eating foods that are high in both. However, eating a diet that consists primarily of fresh organic fruits and vegetables will do the trick, since most contain healthy levels of calcium, vitamin D and many other beneficial vitamins and minerals readily absorbed by the body.
That said, for most individuals, dedicating oneself to getting enough calcium and vitamin D through an organic diet can be challenging, so supplementation becomes necessary. Remember that it's important to get adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D, since the latter improves absorption of the former.
What About Dairy Products? Contrary to popular belief and advertising, dairy products, including cow's milk, while containing high levels of calcium, are in a form that is not compatible with human digestion, assimilation and absorption. Typically, they also are high in saturated fat, can have high levels of pesticides, antibiotics and hormones, and if pasteurized, contain deactivated enzymes caused by high heat. Dairy products contain lactose, which many people have difficulty absorbing due to the lack of the digestive enzyme lactase.
Many bone diseases such as osteoporosis and osteopenia are preventable and treatable. Since there are no obvious warning signs for many bone ailments, it is important to be aware of the risks and be proactive in being responsible for one's own health primarily through diet, supplementation and resistance exercise. Talk to your doctor or naturopath for more information.