Bone is a rigid organ, which produces Red blood cells and White blood cells, stores minerals, provide structures, and supports and enables mobility. Also, bone helps in regulating acid-base balance. By releasing or absorbing alkaline salts, the bones buffer the blood against excessive pH changes. Eating anti-inflammatory foods will give strength to our bones and joints. Bone stores calcium and vitamin D, and Daily recommended intake (RDI) for calcium is 1000 mg per day.
Calcium isn’t the only mineral that is important for bone health; several other nutrients play a crucial role in maintaining good bone health. Other nutrients that are essential for strong and healthy bones are Vitamin K, Protein, Magnesium, Potassium, and Zinc. So, let’s have a look at what nutrients and food you should include in your regular diet to have healthy and strong bones.
Calcium – It’s best to divide your calcium intake throughout the day. It will help optimize the absorption, by including one of the calcium-rich foods from the list mentioned below at each meal.
Good Sources of Calcium:
- A glass of full milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products.
- Tofu and soybean contain soy isoflavones which reduce the loss of bone density.
- Fish where fish bones can be also eaten. These include fishes such as sardines and pilchards.
- Soya drinks, rice, and oats drinks
- Pulses and legumes
- Sesame seeds and Tahini
- Cherries help in curbing the inflammation and helps in alleviating gout.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps your body to absorb calcium,
Vitamin D deficiency is very common and is found affecting about one billion people worldwide. It may lead to Osteopenia, Osteoporosis, and other bone diseases. You may be able to get enough Vitamin D through sun exposure and certain food sources. Here are some prominent sources of Vitamin D
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Good Sources of Vitamin D:
- Oily fish, such as mackerel, sardines, and salmon.
- Certain powdered milk
- Dried fruits such as raisins, prunes, figs, dried apricots, walnuts, and kale
- Fortified cereals
- Turmeric: In treating joint sprains, knee aches, and pains, turmeric can work well as it’s rich in a chemical called curcumin, which acts as a painkiller and an anti-inflammatory on its external application or its intake.
- Sun exposure
- Cinnamon and ginger also have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Vitamin C:
Eat plenty of green vegetables: Balance your diet with a good amount of fresh green vegetables as they are a good source of Vitamin C which stimulates the productions of bone-forming cells. Have broccoli, cabbage, and okra. Consume steamed spinach, French beans, Red Peppers, grapefruits, oranges, tomatoes, Papaya, Strawberries, and pineapple as they contain Vitamin C, which helps to cushion your joints and hold them together. Sprouts contain Vitamin C and Calcium, so eating them helps in building the density of the bones and maintaining their strength.
- Omega-3 fatty acids:
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are well-known for their anti-inflammatory effects. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids are chia seeds, flaxseeds, and walnuts. So, include them in your regular diet.
Consume enough proteins as high protein intake can protect your bone and help maintain good bone health during aging and weight loss. Collagen is the main protein found in the bones. It contains amino acids, such as glycine, proline, and lysine, that help in building bones, ligament, muscles, and tissues. Taking collagen supplements may help protect bone health.
- Vitamin K:
Vitamin K is also extremely important for building strong bones. It supports bone health by modifying osteocalcin. Vitamin K enables osteocalcin to bind minerals in bones and helps prevent the loss of calcium from the bones.
Sources of Vitamin K include:
- Fermented foods, such as cheese and soybean.
- Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, collard green, mustard greens, turnip greens, and Brussel sprouts.
Magnesium plays a key role in converting Vitamin D into an active form that promotes calcium absorption.
Good sources of magnesium include: Spinach, beat, raisins, collard greens, sweet potatoes, beat greens, okra, and tomatoes are good sources of magnesium that you should include in your diet.
Peanuts and almonds contain potassium which prevents the loss of calcium in the urine.
Good sources of potassium include tomato products, oranges, raisins, potatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes, papaya, banana, and prunes.
Zinc is a trace mineral needed in a very small amount. It promotes the formation of bone-building cells and prevents the excessive breakdown of bone. Zinc supplements support bone growth in children and the maintenance of bone density in elderly individuals.
Good Sources of zinc include Beef, Shrimp, Spinach, Flaxseeds, Oysters.
10 Health and Diet Tips to Maintain Good Bone Health:
- Avoid Low-calorie Diets: Dropping calories too low is never good for bones and muscles. Consume a balanced diet with at least 1200 calories per day.
- Maintain Good Weight: Maintaining a stable and healthy weight is always better than repeatedly losing and regaining it.
- Practice Exercises: Performing strength training and weight-bearing exercises help strengthen bones and muscles.
- Avoid or limit salty foods: Eating foods that have a lot of salt causes your body to lose calcium and can lead to bone loss.
- Try to limit the amount of canned and processed foods.
- Check your intake of foods containing high oxalic acids: Spinach and other foods, such as beans and rhubarb, contain high oxalic acids which don’t allow calcium to be absorbed by the body.
- Keep an eye on the intake of meat and other high protein foods: It’s important to get enough but not too much protein for bone and overall health.
- Avoid having foods in high phytates: Beans along with multiple minerals and fibers contain high phytates Avoid eating foods high in the phytates, such as beans with high phytates and wheat bran, as it interferes with your body’s ability to absorb calcium. You can reduce phytates level by soaking beans in water for several hours and then cook it in freshwater.
- Avoid alcohol as it may lead to bone loss.
- Avoid excess of caffeine, tea, soft drinks, as it reduces calcium absorption.
Now that you know appropriate diet tips to follow to maintain healthy bones, make sure that you eat a nutritious diet, and follow all these diet tips to keep your bones strong and healthy.
- Written by Dr. Jyoti K., Associate doctor to Dr. Rajesh Shah