Healthy bones do more than just help you sidestep osteoporosis, a condition that affects one in three women over 50 due to declining estrogen levels: They also keep you steady and safe on your feet. Fortunately, it’s easy (and fun!) to build better bones naturally to reduce your need for a pricey prescription.
Dance before dinner.
While you wait for the oven to preheat or water to boil, turn on the radio and start shimmying. Just three minutes a day of weight-bearing activity like dancing or jumping is effective at strengthening bones. Weight-bearing activity puts a good kind of stress on your bones, which cues them to grow.
Laugh it up.
High levels of the stress hormone cortisol break down bone tissue. Laughter to the rescue! Even anticipating a laugh cuts cortisol by 39 percent, say Loma Linda University scientists. So cue up your favorite sitcom and get ready to LOL.
Savor chicken wings.
This hearty dish satisfies your hunger and protects your bones. Dark meat contains vitamin K, a nutrient that may help reduce fracture risk. Indeed, a 2019 Journal of Osteoporosis scientific review notes that a vitamin K deficiency correlates with bone fractures. Also found (in higher quantities) in leafy greens like spinach, turnip greens, kale, broccoli, and brussel sprouts, vitamin K helps make up the supportive framework that keeps bones strong.
Sip a cherry spritzer.
Women with adequate stores of melatonin, a sleep hormone that also spurs cells to build bones, may have bones that are more dense than those with low levels. A study published in the Journal of Pineal Research says this hormone improves bone mineral density. Simply sip 8 ounces of melatonin-rich tart cherry juice daily. Try mixing it with seltzer for a fizzy kick!
Try this supplement.
To offset a menopausal dip in estrogen that’s been linked to weaker bones, try estrogen-mimicking soy isoflavones. Postmenopausal women who took 75 milligrams daily increased their bone density by 54 percent, a study in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine found. Try: Swanson Soy Isoflavones (Buy from Amazon, $15.24).
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A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.