Bone and Joint Health Awareness Week is an annual global event held October 12-20 with activities focused on disorders including arthritis, back pain, osteoporosis and trauma.

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Your bones provide support, movement, protect your organs, and make blood cells. Signs of poor bone health include: brittle bones, gum disease, hormone imbalance, joint and tendon soreness, and/or weak muscles.  Drinking soda, especially one that contains phosphoric acid, is one of the worst things you can do for your bones. Phosphoric acid pulls the calcium from the bone and over time can lead to osteoporosis. Drinking alcohol and smoking interferes with the absorption of calcium and vitamin D. Chronic use of alcohol can increase parathyroid hormone which also pulls calcium from the bones. Certain medications, improper diet, and hormone imbalance can affect the health of your bones.

Diet and Bone Health

Diet is key when it comes to bone health! Many people think that dairy is the only way of getting calcium in your body. Believe it or not, you can get calcium from leafy green vegetables, such as: broccoli, kale, bok choy, collard greens, and spinach. Juicing is a great way to get in leafy greens into your diet. You want to avoid eating too much dairy because it can lead to inflammation in the body. Milk is usually pasteurized and fortified with artificial nutrients. If you choose to consume dairy, it is best to consume the organic version.

Important Nutrients to Support Bone Health

Vitamin D is actually a hormone that promotes bone growth and mineral metabolism. It aids in absorption of calcium via the small intestine. The best way of getting vitamin D is from the sun. Oftentimes, due to the stress we put on our bodies, we cannot convert vitamin D into its bioavailable form. This is when supplementation helps. If you choose to supplement vitamin D, it is best to find a product that contains vitamins D3 and K2. Vitamin K keeps calcium in the bones and out of your blood vessels. Leafy greens are a great way of getting vitamin K into your body. Vitamin D is fat soluble, meaning that levels must be checked at baseline and then monitored by your healthcare practitioner to avoid toxicity. Fish can be high in vitamin D, but you want to make sure it’s wild caught fish, like Alaskan or Norwegian, to ensure low levels of mercury.

Best Source of Calcium

The best way to get calcium is through a natural source, such as leafy green vegetables. Calcium plays an important role in bone and muscle health. If you choose to supplement calcium, use one that has magnesium along with it for the most absorption of the nutrients. It is always best to get a food based version of your supplements. The most beneficial exercise for bone health is weight bearing exercise 3 times a week for 30 minutes. Optimal bone health is maintained through regular exercise, eating more leafy green vegetables, and supplementation that is monitored by your healthcare practitioner.

 

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