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Bone Health And Women

This article is authored by Dr. Shweta U. Shah. A practicing homeopath, she follows a patient-centred perspective, emphasizing the benefits of natural remedies and herbs, homeopathy and whole food nutrition.

Doctors, nutritionists and fitness aficionados always stress on the significance of building strong, healthy bones. Loading up on bone-friendly foods helps maintain a strong skeleton. It's not new information that calcium and vitamin D have a pivotal role to play in bone health and prevention of osteoporosis. It has been proven that calcium and vitamin D along with protein are vital nutrients for good bone health, and there’s no disputing that!

So, ladies, here’s how to increase bone density! We’ve gathered some foods to help you get more of these noteworthy nutrients into your menu.

3 Food groups to eat for strong bones

Calcium: Eat Breakfast Calcium maintains bone strength and bone density. The recommended daily intake of calcium for adults is 1000 mg, going up to 1200 mg for women over the age of 50 years. Dairy is a fabulous source of calcium, so it would be prudent to amp up your consumption of milk and its products. One serving of milk, yogurt or cheese provides approximately 300 mg of calcium. If dairy isn’t an option for you, another amazing source of calcium is leafy greens. So, stack your plates with these – paalak (spinach), methi (fenugreek), dhania (coriander), and cabbage. 1 cup of boiled greens provides around 250 mg of calcium. Lesser known incredible sources of calcium include – sweet potatoes, figs, oranges, almonds, sesame seeds, and tofu.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D is crucial for the absorption of calcium and for the normal functioning of the bone cells. Our body can manufacture most of the vitamin D that we require, if we get sun exposure. There are very few good food sources of the vitamin - egg yolk, fish, pork, and cheese. These foods provide small amounts of vitamin D. If you are a vegetarian or a vegan and are concerned about not getting adequate amounts of vitamin D, it is imperative that you discuss with your health care professional about taking a supplement.

Protein: Protein forms the bone’s underlying structural matrix and is very important for good bone health. Fish, chicken, eggs, dal, beans, and dairy are the obvious choices for quality protein. Try Tata Sampann dals as they are unpolished and do not undergo any artificial polishing with water, oil or leather. This makes them a cleaner and pure alternative in comparison to loose dals that are available in the market.

3 Foods that eat away at your bones!

Now you know how important and indispensable are vitamin D and calcium for good bone health. However, do you know that there are certain foods that may have an adverse impact your bones?

• Overconsumption of carbonated drinks and caffeinated beverages: Carbonated drinks cause considerable damage to your bones. They contain phosphoric acid, which increases the blood's acidity levels appreciably. Consequently, the body leaches out all the calcium from the bones to reinstate the acidity level back to normal. Overconsumption of coffee reduces the body's capacity to absorb calcium, thus contributing to poor bone density.

• Trans fats: Radish Trans fats and hydrogenated oils are manufactured by adding hydrogen gas under exceedingly high pressure. The process of hydrogenation annihilates all the naturally-occurring vitamin K in the vegetable oil. Vitamin K also plays a role in sustaining strong bones, so steer clear of excessive consumption of those foods that are likely to have trans fats snuck into them – cakes, cookies, biscuits, wafers and fried foods.

• Large amounts of sodium: A diet that’s high in sodium causes your bones to deteriorate. Studies reveal that, for every 2300 mg of sodium you consume, you lose about 40 mg of calcium. Hence, you should be careful about the amount of sodium that you consume and reduce the amount of sodium in your diet and stay away from highly processed packaged food.

Research shows that a large section of our population suffers from osteoporosis and low bone density; (and most of them don’t know it). Unfortunately, there are no presenting features, until they suffer a fracture. Practically, all disorders of the bone can be averted by getting sufficient amounts of calcium and vitamin D into your diet. It is very essential for you to be aware of your calcium, vitamin D and protein intake to preserve and increase bone density and bone strength.

Importantly, you need to keep track of your everyday intake of these vital nutrients. You must know how much calcium, vitamin D and protein you consume on a daily basis. If you fear that you aren’t getting sufficient amounts, speak to your health care provider. Eat the right food, get a supplement if necessary and take steps to remedy the problem and keep building strong bones! Your sole aim ought to be able to stay active at all ages.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

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Diet, exercise and sunlight: Three factors women shouldn’t ignore for good bone health

Dr. Dharini Krishnan

Dr. Dharini Krishnan
11 January 2021

This article is authored by Dr. Dharini Krishnan, an award-winning Consultant Dietitian, she believes that for a healthy body and mind, we must combine modern medicine with native Indian practices which are proven to benefit us.

Barring a significant injury or fracture, we rarely tend to think about bone health. Yet, for women, particularly those who are middle-aged or older, this is a vital concern because of the risk of osteoporosis.

In 2013, it was estimated that there were 50 million Indians who were osteoporotic or having low bone mass. Some studies have found that the prevalence of osteoporosis could be as high as 42.5% in women over the age of 50.

Osteoporosis and health complications

Eat Breakfast

Osteoporosis comes from the Latin for “porous bone”, and is a condition where bone tissue loses its density, and becomes weaker and more fragile. Such bones are easily susceptible to breaks, resulting in pain, disability and loss of functionality in everyday life.

Bones, which form the primary supporting framework of the body, grow from birth till our early twenties, which is the period of peak bone mass. Bone is an active tissue that undergoes regular replacement in conditions of health.

In osteoporosis, however, bone formation is outpaced by bone loss, leading to porosity or thinness of bone tissue and brittle bones. Such bones could easily be fractured even in the absence of significant trauma. Such fractures tend to reduce mobility and lead to increased hospitalization and dependence on others.

Why osteoporosis affects women more

Women are particular at risk for osteoporosis because they have lesser bone mass to start with. The geometry and structure of bone have also been increasingly recognized as important risk factors for fracture.

The risk of osteoporosis significantly rises during menopause because of the hormonal changes women undergo at the time. This is because estrogen plays a significant role in maintaining bone health, and the secretion of this hormone falls drastically during menopause.

The importance of protein and calcium in the diet

Skin Care

For some time now, awareness of the importance of calcium for bone health has been growing. Hence, women are advised to consume sufficient amounts of dairy, green leafy vegetables, soya products and nuts.

What many don’t realise is that sufficient levels of protein are just as important for strong bones. After all, protein makes up roughly 50% of bone volume and about one-third of its mass. Daily intake of protein is also necessary to provide the raw materials for bone formation. Unfortunately, research shows that the levels of dietary protein consumed by Indians are actually reducing.

For non-vegetarians chicken, fish and eggs are good sources of protein. For vegetarians, pulses are one of the primary sources of protein, along with dairy products. Daily intake of protein in at least two major meals of the day, particularly in healthy forms such as sambhar or dal is, therefore, vital.

The role of exercise and sunlight

Eat Breakfast

Bone health also requires good muscle health. This makes it necessary to undertake moderate exercise as often as possible. A 45-minute walk six days a week as well as resistance training using the body weight, such as surya namaskaras, can go a long way to building muscles. Importantly, the body also requires Vitamin D to mobilize calcium for bone health. Hence, exposure to peak sunlight between 11am and 3 pm at least twice a week is also vital for bone health.

Osteoporosis can be a serious health problem that disrupts life and limits mobility, particularly for women. However, a healthy diet, rich in calcium and protein, together with exercise, can go a long way in maintaining bone health.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

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