Right now I have some intelligence for your BONES. They may seem sturdy and rigid, but in reality, the framework that holds us together is in a constant state of change. Cells called osteo_blasts_ are constantly building up our bones, while other cells called osteo_clasts_ are breaking them down. This process actually keeps our bones healthy – and in early adulthood, it’s pretty balanced, but by the time we reach our 30s, the osteo_clasts_ start taking over – and we begin losing .5% of our bone mass each year. And after age 50, you have nearly a 50% chance of suffering a fracture due to weakened bones. So, here are tips to help keep you strong throughout the years, courtesy of the researchers at Real Simple magazine.

  • Eat a bone-friendly diet. That means plenty of fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products. This’ll help give you the one thousand milligrams of calcium you should be getting every day.
  • Exercise wisely. Regular exercise that puts pressure on your bones – such as running, lifting weights and jumping rope – helps preserve them by encouraging the formation of the important osteo_blasts_. But don’t overdo it! Exercising 20 to 30 minutes a day is ideal.
  • Quit smoking. Especially YOU, ladies! Women who smoke have lower estrogen levels and typically reach menopause earlier – and both of those can lead to lower bone density.
  • Get a grip on stress. Stress hormones, like cortisol, can slow down bone growth and speed up bone breakdown. And depression can have the same effect. So make sure you don’t take on too much and wind up feeling overwhelmed or helpless.
  • And here’s a bonus tip you’ll love: Splurge on a latte! A grande low-fat latte from Starbucks has 450 milligrams of calcium – that’s 45% of your daily requirement! But at 235 calories a pop, you don’t want to indulge every day. Or you’ll go from worrying about your bones to worrying about your weight.