Did you know that the food you eat (and don’t eat) can hurt your skeletal system over time? A poor diet lacking in nutrients can not only harm your bones but can stress them as well if you are carrying excess weight around. In fact, one of the best things you can do to support your skeletal system is to eat a healthy, balanced diet and maintain a healthy weight for your size.
A nutritious diet can provide you with the strong, supportive bones you need to live a healthy life. Generally speaking, the bones that make up your skeletal system consist of collagen and calcium. This doesn’t just make your bones strong to support you in your day to day life, but it offers them some flexibility as you move around without resulting in injury. As you age, the skeletal system is always replacing the old bone cells with new cells, which is call remodeling. Remodeling is the ongoing resorption and mineralization of parts of the skeleton.
What Your Skeleton System Needs to Thrive
Calcium – without proper levels of calcium in your body, your bones will release calcium to make up for it, and eventually become weak. Calcium is not only needed for healthy bones (and teeth), which you probably already know, but your muscles need it to contract, and for example, to maintain a healthy heartbeat (avoiding muscle cramps). Excellent sources of calcium include tofu, dairy, dark leafy greens, beans, okra, acorn squash, clams, and trout. (The daily value for calcium is 1300mg).
Vitamin D – this fat-soluble vitamin is needed for healthy bones by fostering calcium absorption, bone maintenance and continued bone growth. If you lack sufficient Vitamin D, your bones can end up brittle, thin, and even misshapen. It prevents softening of the bones in adults, and when it is paired with sufficient calcium it protects you from osteoporosis (weak, brittle bones) as you age. Good sources of vitamin D include fatty fish like salmon as well as milk and cereal which are fortified with vitamin D.
Vitamin K – like vitamin D, vitamin K helps maintain optimal bone health, especially when it comes to preventing osteoporosis. It can also help lower your risk of bone fractures. You can increase your intake of vitamin K by consuming leafy green vegetables, such as kale, spinach, and collard greens. Brussel sprouts, celery, broccoli, okra, sun-dried tomatoes, cabbage, carrots and asparagus are excellent sources as well.
Phosphorus – this mineral helps maintain strong bones, but not too much is needed. It is a good idea to maintain a balance between your calcium and phosphorus intake because too much phosphorus can keep your body from absorbing calcium. Limit your intake to 1,250 milligrams each day. You can get it from drinking milk or soda and eating grains and foods that are rich in protein.
When it comes to diet and your skeletal system, be sure to maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight will stress your joints, causing degeneration that could damage cartilage and result in bone injuries. Lean towards whole grains, low-fat dairy, fresh fruit, and plenty of vegetables. A healthy diet and healthy exercise habits can support your bone health for a better quality of life.
At the Health & Wellness Clinic located in Layton, Utah, Dr. Dan Hendricks and Dr. Spencer Rollins are trained in overall health and wellness. We can help you make healthier, more balanced changes in your lifestyle to support your skeleton system’s optimal function. Just reach out to our experienced team 801-784-4807 today, and start your journey to a healthier you!