We were always taught that eating calcium-rich foods and drinking milk are the only keys to maintaining stronger and healthy bones. Sometimes, we are not even aware that there are certain lifestyle habits that may also contribute to the health or destruction of our bones. Check them out below.
Eating Too Many Salty Foods
Excessive salt intake has been found to lower bone density and eventually increases one’s risk of fracture. According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, as our sodium intake goes up, our body releases more calcium in our urine. In fact, by just eating one extra gram of sodium per day, adult women may lose 1 percent of their bone density each year.
Edward Domurat, MD, an endocrinologist with Kaiser Permanente South Bay Medical Center in Harbor City, California, explains that smoking produces harmful atoms called free radicals, which kill off the cells that build bone. When a person smokes, the body’s levels of the hormone calcitonin (which helps build bone) decreases while stress hormones cortisol (which weakens bones) increases.
No Exposure To Sunlight
Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D which is needed by our body to absorb calcium. Without this vitamin, our bones can become thin and brittle. Aim for at least 30-40 minutes of sunlight exposure to help improve bone mineral density and strengthen ligaments and bones.
However, for those who can’t spend enough time outdoors, its best to always eat vitamin D-rich foods such as salmon, egg yolks, tuna, beef liver, and vitamin D-fortified foods.
Too Much Alcohol Intake
Too much alcohol consumption can have negative effects on our bone health. It lowers the hormone levels of testosterone and estrogen, further weakening bones and increasing our risk of osteoporosis. Furthermore, excessive alcohol intake also affects the gastrointestinal tract thus reducing the body’s ability to absorb calcium.
Imali Sirisena, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University in Philadelphia, also added that drinking too much in one sitting also increases the risk that a person will fall and fracture a bone.
A sedentary lifestyle is putting us at a higher risk of rapid bone loss since we can’t reap the bone-strengthening benefits of physical activity when we are just sitting on the sofa.
Regular exercise and staying active can help strengthen our bones, boost balance, posture, and flexibility, all of which can help lower our risk for a fall. Walking, stair climbing and weight lifting are some of the best exercises that we can try to maintain our bone health.