Bones form the framework around which our entire bodies are built. Consequently, weak bones inevitably lead all kinds of dangers. We are often told to consume calcium to counteract the loss of bone density. While that is certainly true and a good idea, there are things that actually counteract the development and maintenance of healthy bones.
A healthy bone density is crucial for a healthy body. But there are many things we unknowingly do that actually prevent us from developing and maintaining healthy bones. Here are a few things that can be detrimental to your bone health.
Interestingly, as you consume salt, so too does your body eliminate calcium. Therefore, if your salt consumption increases, your calcium levels will decrease. This is, however, a balance since you actually need salt in your diet. Thus, you should not eliminate it from your diet, but rather stay within recommended daily allowances. Be mindful of what you eat and be sure to check the sodium levels in the foods you eat (e.g., cold cuts and chips usually have high levels).
There is nothing inherently wrong with watching your favorite shows, but more often than not we end up spending a couple of hours in front of a TV or PC screen. Essentially, you don’t really move around much, hence your bones and muscles don’t really do any work. To curb that, set a timer for yourself to restrict the amount of time you spend in front of a screen, and instead do some exercising, like walking around the block.
Cycling is an excellent exercise, whether you are doing it for training or simply just riding to and from work. But consider this: while it is great as cardiovascular exercise, it is not a weight-bearing activity and as such does not increase your bone density, since your muscles don’t work against gravity. Don’t stop cycling though, but instead opt to trade in some bike hours for some weight bearing exercises, like walking, running, or even hitting the gym.
The problem with alcohol is that it can restrict the amount of calcium your body absorbs. So, while a night on the town is still on the cards, just don’t overdo it. For men, the recommended limit is one drink per day, and two per day for women. The added advantage is that you won’t wake up with a hangover the next morning!
Many sodas contain large amounts of caffeine and the phosphorous, and some experts say these two substances have been linked to bone loss. Still others view the bone loss as result of not choosing healthier options such as milk. Whatever the case may be, try and limit your intake of those fizzy drinks, and instead opt for a healthier option.
This seems counterintuitive, since both milk and wheat bran are seen as some of the healthiest products you can consume. But the thing is this: when you consume bran and milk together, your body absorbs less calcium. The issue has more to do with amount (i.e., concentration) of bran, than just the bran itself. Other foods that contain some bran (e.g., bread), are not a problem.
Unfortunately, not much good can ever be said of smoking. This stays true regarding to your bones. Cigarette smoke prevents your body from forming new and healthy bone tissue. Moreover, the problem worsens the longer you smoke. This means that, if you are a smoker, your bones have a greater chance of breaking and will not heal as fast as a non-smoker. There are many reasons to quit smoking, so go ahead and add this one to the list.
This one is somewhat unfortunate. Certain types of medication can negatively impact your bones, especially chronic medication. Some examples include anti-seizure drugs and glucocorticoids. Thus, although these side-effects are surely unwanted, it’s important to know about them so that you can counteract them by consuming more than the usual amount of calcium.
Your bones are more likely to fracture or break when you are underweight, and you also have a higher likelihood for bone loss. To counteract this, hit the gym and lift some weights. You can also consult a medical professional to investigate the reason for your low bodyweight (e.g., certain medical conditions), in which case you might end up needing to take a calcium supplement.
Bones that fracture or brake can take long to heal. This is especially true for adults, and the older you get, the longer or takes. When children fall, they usually bounce right back up. Not so with adults! Thus, the older you get, the more dangerous a fall can become, especially if your bones have weakened over the years. So, as you age make sure to adapt your home, for example by adding grab bars and non-slip mats, and making sure there are no clutter lying around over which you can trip and fall.