Foods For Healthy Bones

Osteoporosis, Paget’s Disease, Bone Cysts, Arthritis, OSD, Kohler’s Bone Disease, Bone Tumor, Ricketts are a few names that come to mind when one is talking about the unhealthy condition of bones. Some of these diseases are critical in nature and cause even death in some cases.

Here, we wish to change the focus from the ‘Un’ part of the word ‘unhealthy’ to ‘Healthy’. A report on osteoporosis states that world-wide, approximately 200 million women are affected with osteoporosis out of which 1/10th are above 60. Yet another study states that about 3 per cent of people around 40 years suffer from Paget’s disease. A recent report also indicates that rickets is also on the rise among British children.

These are only a few stats available in the public domain. However most of them indicate that the deficiency of the mineral calcium, vitamins D and K combined with unhealthy living habits have contributed to an increase in bone related diseases and related issues.

What does an average human take away from this information? Simple, make changes in your lifestyle to avoid bone diseases. The best way to do this is including a calcium and multi vitamin diet and exercising to increase and maintain bone density.

We have compiled a list of food categories which when included in the normal diet along with adequate amounts of exercise, would suffice your calcium needs (see table):

Dairy Products: Dairy and dairy related products like cottage cheese, cheese, yogurt and milk are excellent source of calcium, vitamin D and phosphorous. The mineral – Calcium is the foundation of bone’s health. Experts report that 99% of the calcium is absorbed in formation of bones, while 1% goes in the blood stream for other purposes. Vitamin D helps in absorbing the calcium into the body, which is also found in the early morning sun! Soak in the morning light as much as you can for optimum calcium absorption.

Leafy Vegetables: Eat your greens to build your bones was grandma’s common refrain. She was right as green leafy veggies like spinach, broccoli, fenugreek & soybean etc contain calcium, magnesium and vitamin K which are important to prevent loss of bone mass during old age. While the antioxidants present in veggies like peas, corn, carrots and tomatoes help reduce the level of bone loss.

Fish: For people, who love salmon and tuna, it would be great news – these fishes comprise of the vitamin D which is essential for calcium absorption thus reducing the chances of fractures in old age, which is the biggest contributor to bone diseases among adults.

Beans: They are a great source of calcium. Soy milk is a source of calcium and vitamin D for those people who suffer from lactose intolerance. Other beans like kidney beans, black eyed peas apart from lentils and legumes are also a good source of calcium.

Fortified Foodstuff: Foods that are fortified with vitamin D such as cereals as well as orange juice are now available for people who wish to avoid the dairy products, albeit the consumption of these should be restricted as they might contain sugar.

A research states that by indulging in exercises that put some stress on bones during adulthood, reduces the risk of falling prey to bone related diseases. Complement the intake of adequate calcium, vitamins D and K with exercises like walking, jogging, dancing, weight lifting, climbing stairs, hiking and racquet related sports for better bone health.

Margie Meyer

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