Caring for your bones: Prevent breaks by exercising and taking in more calcium and vitamin D
06/14/2018 // Zoey Sky // Views

While injuries are unavoidable, this doesn't mean that you can't take measures to prevent them. As a prepper, you can't afford to get injured because it can severely affect your mobility.

Before SHTF, you can minimize the chance of getting into accidents and suffering from fractures/broken bones by increasing bone strength and density. You can do this by maintaining good bone health through proper nutrition. (h/t to

Factors that influence bone health

Osteoporosis is usually diagnosed among older people, but it is more frequent in women than in men. This condition, which is linked to fragile bone health, makes it easy to get fractures. Some of these broken bones may even take a while to heal if you have osteoporosis.

Thankfully, prepping can help you halt the development and progression of osteoporosis. The prevention and treatment of this condition rely on three factors.

Keep in mind that these three factors, which impact bone health, are things that you can control:

  • Weight-bearing exercise
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D

Weight-bearing exercise

Bones support our bodies in the same way frames support houses. However, the skeletal system is made of living tissue and this means that our bones will respond to recent stresses.

For example, if you lift heavy weights, your bones will be compressed and become stronger. With regular weight-bearing exercise, you can help ensure that you'll still be spry even when you're much older.

Regardless of your age, you can start working out to make your bones stronger. While bones will lose minerals with aging, you can still slow this down by making your bones stronger with weight-bearing exercise. If you don't have time to hit the gym, you can lift weights at home. You just need some resistance bands, or even a hefty can of beans if you need a starter weight.



Calcium is "the scarce part of the mineral that makes bones hard." We often get calcium from the food we eat or supplements.

Calcium-rich sources include:

  • Almonds – Out of all the nuts, almonds have the highest calcium content. They are also full of other nutrients like healthy fats, protein, and magnesium. An ounce of almonds, or 22 nuts, offers eight percent of the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for calcium.
  • Broccoli – Aside from calcium, broccoli also contains B-vitamins, fiber, and protein.
  • Cheese – A lot of cheeses are full of calcium. Parmesan cheese has the most calcium, with 331 milligrams (mg), or 33 percent of the RDI, per ounce (28 grams).
  • Sardines or salmon – Salmon and canned sardines are full of calcium, protein, and good fats.
  • White beans – White beans are also rich in calcium.
  • Seeds – Some seeds, like celery, chia, poppy, and sesame, are chock-full of calcium.
  • Yogurt – Aside from calcium, several types of yogurt also contain live probiotic bacteria with many health benefits. Yogurt provides 30 percent of the RDI for calcium in one cup. It's also rich in protein and other nutrients.

Vitamin D

The body needs vitamin D so the gut can absorb the calcium in the food you eat.

You can get vitamin D from:

  • Dairy products (e.g. cheese, milk, etc.)
  • Egg yolks
  • Fatty fish (e.g. herring, salmon, and sardines)
  • Orange juice
  • Soy milk
  • Sun exposure (at least 15 to 20 minutes daily during the summer)

Remember that vitamin D is stored in fat tissue. Overdosing on vitamin D can be toxic, although this usually happens with supplements.

Other ways to improve bone strength

Aside from weight-bearing exercise, calcium, and vitamin D, other factors like stress control can improve bone density.

Stress triggers the release of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol controls the release of the growth hormone which encourages the bones to rebuild properly throughout the remodeling process. But since most studies were done on male rats, this fact has remained unnoticed for several years.

Testosterone promotes bone density to the point that the cortisol effect is not that evident in males, unlike in females. Cortisol inhibits the release of testosterone and estrogen. The latter partially protects women before menopause.

However, after menopause, women become more prone to osteoporosis. This means cortisol is beneficial for relatively short-term stresses, but it can be harmful if you release a lot of it for a long time. Manage your stress properly to keep your bones strong.

Preventing osteoporosis requires proper bone development and maintenance. As long as you're careful when doing some heavy lifting and you follow a proper diet, you can keep your bones strong even when SHTF.

You can read more articles about vitamin D-rich foods and tips on how to take care of your bones at

Sources include: 1 2

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