Your beautifully shaped flexible body has a solid underlying structure. It is made of the bones. The bones provide for the numerous activities and motions done by an individual. Without them, the body would be a stiff mass. When a child is born, it has around 300 to 350 bones in its body. Over time, this number reduces to about 206. The difference in number arises due to the fact that around the age between 12 and 14, some of the smaller bones fuse to form the big and stronger bones. It may be surprising to know that bones account for 14% of the entire body weight in human beings.
There are numerous benefits you can enjoy from healthy bones. They perform many vital functions in your body. Apart from providing protection, they also support the entire body weight. The tender heart, lungs, liver, and spleen have the protective covering of your bone to shield them. You would be happy to know that your bone marrow produces the fresh red and white blood cells in your body. It is the factory for your blood constituents. So keep it healthy to enjoy for a lifetime!
Your bone is a living thing. A group of cells (called osteoblasts) are constantly churning out the new bone, while the other group (called osteoclasts) destroys bone. This bone remodeling is the reason bones regenerate after a break, grow rapidly during youth, and decline later in life. Just like you want to build up your bank savings, you can work on your bones to save for later years. Physical activities like playing sports, lifting weights, running, and any other activity that moves muscle can contribute to laying down more minerals in the bones. This would make them stronger and denser. The bone density peaks around age 30 and then starts to reduce. So the more you build in youth, the more you can have available later. This also reduces the possibility of fracture.
Women have special concerns. They are at a higher risk for osteoporosis. If a woman does not menstruate or under-menstruate, there is a drop in estrogen level. It causes the bone remodeling process to expedite and become imbalanced. The bone dissolves faster than it gets restored. The bone is a major depository for calcium and phosphate. For new mothers, bone is the repository for the extra calcium required (an example is while breastfeeding). The body releases the extra amount from the bones. This is particularly beneficial for the baby and the mother.
Calcium and vitamin D are essentially needed to get healthy bones. If consuming milk is an issue, you can consider other sources of calcium. Milk is only one of the sources of calcium at your disposal. There are many food items like yogurt and cheese, fortified food items, and calcium-rich almonds and green vegetables which can substitute milk. There is, however, debate over fruits and vegetables without that much calcium content benefiting bones. It is best to get calcium from food. Calcium supplements have been linked to kidney stones and heart attack risk. While opting for a bone-strengthening drug, you need to be cautious of the side-effects. It has been found that Asians or whites are at a higher risk of osteoporosis compared to Hispanics. You can include cheese, yogurt, calcium-enriched juices, dark green leafy vegetables, and many more food items in your diet to get sufficient calcium for bones. It is a good idea to select food items high in calcium by checking on the Nutrition Facts label of products. .Although research is yet to support it; your extra body weight may accumulate more bone minerals to support that weight.
Add alcohol to the list of evils. Besides harming your liver, brain, and other body parts, it also harms the bone. Osteopenia (a precursor to osteoporosis) is a condition arising out of alcohol intake, where bone density is lower than normal. Smoking is also linked to osteoporosis. Increasing belly fat can cause bone-thinning risk. Your jaws and teeth are also at risk if bones are harmed. Bone loss can adversely affect the jawbone, causing deterioration or reduction in its density. Your loose (or lost) teeth, receding gums, or ill-fitting dentures may account due to this fact. Regular dental check-ups can identify and resolve the problem.
Until puberty, boys and girls develop bone mass at similar rates. Generally, boys grow to have higher bone mass or density compared to girls. This accounts for the difference in bone density in men and women. During childhood and adolescence, larger bone is deposited than withdrawn. Beginning early in childhood, proper nutrition backed by abundant physical activity is the lifelong prescriptions for healthy bones.
As per the National Academy of Sciences, people aged 19 to 50 should consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day. Those aged 50 or over should consume 1,200 milligrams per day. However, more supporting research is needed. Usually, an overdose of calcium does not do any harm to the body; but there have been some cases of health problems due to overdose. Experts and doctors recommend taking not more than 2500 milligrams of calcium per day. Also, you need to consult a doctor before opting for this method.
The bones are considered as the strongest part of the body. And it is advised to build stronger bones in childhood to prevent any kind of osteoporosis and fractures in life. You would surely want to build healthy bones to enjoy for your lifetime.