Bone health: forgotten facts & myth busting
Did you sit down and think about your bone health today? You didn’t? I am not surprised. When we think about our health our thoughts inevitably drift to the state of our waist line, or the health of our hearts. Of course, heart health and maintaining a reasonable body fat percentage are both very important things, but there is one aspect of health that’s quite literally buried deep beneath the surface. Many of us have little if any concept of our bone health.
Understandably bone health gets little if any coverage in the health and fitness press. Bone health isn’t sexy. You can’t see it, and its benefits aren’t visually evident on the surface. While a lean or muscular physique may look great on a magazine cover or a website’s landing page, people find X-Rays a tad less visually appealing. Hence, bone health is often neglected or (worse still) intrinsically tied to age old myths and outright lies about how to keep our bones healthy. But it’s a very important subject!
Nonetheless, the importance of bone health, whatever your age cannot be understated. Booking in at an osteopathic clinic for a bone density test to check your bone health and making a few simple lifestyle changes can ensure that your bones stay healthy and dense as you get older. Remember, I am not a doctor and the information contained in this post is general in nature, and I urge you to do your own research and to contact a health professional with any concerns.
Why bone health is important
Your bones are as alive as the rest of you. They’re made of living, breathing, tissue growing cells. All our lives we are in a constant state of losing and growing new bones. When we reach our mid 30s, however, our bone loss tends to speed up somewhat. Maintaining your bone density is a case of ensuring that new bone cells are created faster than they deteriorate.
When a sizable deficit between deterioration of bone cells and creation of new bone cells takes place, this is when bones become porous and brittle and therefore much more susceptible to breakage. This process is called osteoporosis and its inevitability is one of the greatest myths in modern medicine (more on that later).
The great white lie: milk and dairy
For some reason, in the Western world a ubiquitous link between dairy products and bone health has permeated. Not only is milk not essential for your bone health, some experts suggest that it’s actually bad for your bones, and that regular milk consumption actively leads to deterioration in bone density. Again, do your own research and draw your own conclusions.
While milk is admittedly high in calcium, some experts suggest that our bodies are not designed to assimilate cow’s milk (the theory being that it’s because “we’re not cows”) and therefore barely absorb any of its calcium content. Moreover, some people suggest that cow’s milk is surprisingly acidic, and in order to counteract this acidity your body actually draws calcium out of your bones to neutralise it. Milk for bones might (or might not) make all the difference. Ask your trusted health professional.
Osteoporosis is not inevitable
For generations, people have resigned themselves to the deterioration of bone density as an unfortunate inevitability that comes with old age, yet if we take active steps to ensure good bone health throughout our lives, there’s no need to accept that our bones have to become weaker as we get older.
What you can do to keep your bones healthy
Regular exercise is hugely important as developing the muscle tissue that supports bones lessens the impact on them that comes from everyday activities. Eating a diet rich in green leafy vegetables, pulses and seeds will give you all the calcium you need to maintain healthy bones long into your advanced years. Good bone health should be a goal for everyone.