' MIND YOUR BONES | Muslim keys of health




Mind your bones

Your 206 bones, 32 teeth and a network of other structures that keep it all together is what forms your skeleton. We often get caught up with caring for our skin, hair, heart etc and neglect what keeps it all together—our skeletal system. The skeletal system provides support and structure to the body, protects the vital organs, and assists with bodily movements and producing new blood cells.

We usually don’t even think about our bones unless we get hurt. Though naturally strong and low maintenance, if not cared for properly, overtime the bones can become weak, brittle, and broken.

There are a few things you can do to properly care for your under-appreciated and often neglected skeleton.

  1. Eat a calcium-rich diet. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends that men and women get at least 1,000 mg of calcium each day. This is especially true for people over age 40, when natural bone replacement slows down. Some of the calcium rich foods include:
    • milk, cheese and other dairy products;
    • broccoli, kale, sardines, salmon;
    • brazil nuts, almonds, oranges and calcium-fortified foods.
  1. Eat a magnesium-rich diet. Although all minerals play an important role in overall health of the bones, magnesium seems to take the lead. Calcium has been celebrated as the most important for skeletal health for decades however, dietary intake of magnesium, not necessarily calcium, may be the key to developing healthy bones during childhood, according to new research presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in the USA. Ongoing researches suggest that magensium not only plays a vital role in skeletal health, it has substantial effects on overall wellbeing ranging from alleviating PMS symptoms to improving blood sugar levels. Some of the magnesium rich foods include:
    • Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and Swiss chard
    • Avocados
    • Pumpkin seeds
    • Figs
    • Almonds
    • Black beans
    • bananas
  1. Vitamin D; it aids in body’s calcium absorption. Adults need 15 mcg of vitamin D a day. Foods with vitamin D include:
    • Dairy
    • Eggs
    • Fatty fish such as salmon or tuna and
    • Fortified orange juice and cereal.

However, food containing Vitamin D is not enough. We need adequate exposure to the sun in order to trigger synthesis for the body to produce vitamin D.

  1. Perform at least 30 minutes of weight-bearing exercise at least twice a week. Building muscle increases bone density which prevents osteoporosis. You don’t necessarily need weights or equipment to build muscle. Pushups, squats and planks strengthen overall muscle mass and tone. As you get stronger, using weights such as dumbbells, increases the resistance to maintain your strength.
  1. Avoid smoking and drinking. According to the May Clinic, tobacco use and consumption of alcoholic drinks may contribute to weak bones and osteoporosis.
  1. Long term use of pharmaceuticals. Some medicines can weaken bones and increase your risk of osteoporosis. If you are on life-saving drugs and must take medication, you should consult your healthcare provider to ensure you get proper care for your bones.
  1. Protect your body.
    • Wear your seat belt when driving and a helmet when using a motorcycle.
    • Use headgear when engaged in sports that could lead to brain damage such as football, in-line skating, bicycling and horseback riding.
    • Wear comfortable shoes and avoid wearing high heels as much as possible.
    • Sleep on dry surface since long contact with a humid surface (such as a damp mattress) can have terrible effects on muscular and skeletal health.
    • Maintain a good posture and use ergonomic furniture.

In a nutshell, remember that your bones need a good diet & regular exercise. Give them what they need and you can go on enjoying your life for years to come!

Cool Fact: Did you know that the hands and feet contain over half of body’s bones?