As you age, the bones in your body start to become tender, weak, thin and fragile. The bones become more prone to fracture and breakage as you age. It is very difficult to imagine a person without bones. You will not be able to walk, run, stand up or talk without the bones in your body. The framework of your body is made up of bones and there are a total of about 206 bones in a human body. It is the bones that provide the necessary strength and the support to maintain your body to be upright. It is also important for the protection of your internal organs like the heart and the lungs. As the bones are very important for carrying out many of the vital functions of the body, it is highly important for you to keep them strong and healthy.
What Are Bones?
Bones are living tissues inside your body that gives your body the right framework and posture. It is made up of living cells like collagen as well as non living minerals like calcium. It is due to the deficiency in calcium that many people experience bone problems when they age. A natural process known as “bone re-modeling” takes place throughout your life wherein your bones will break down and re-build all by itself. You will never know such a process is happening inside your body. So, new bones will develop in your body during the break down and re-building process. It is highly important for the breakdown and the re-building process to maintain a perfect balance and to keep your body’s bone mass intact. If there is more of bones break down than bone re-building activity, then you are bound to suffer from bone loss. So, it is important for you to make sure that there are fewer breakdowns of your bones inside the body so that you will be able to protect your bone strength.
When you were young, the re-modeling process of your bones took place at a rapid pace and more bone tissues were built than what you lost. It is in the twenties and the thirties that your bone mass reaches its maximum capacity. But as you grow older, the bone breakdown will be more than the bone re-building and hence your bones will start to become thinner in size. If your bone starts to become thinner, then in the due course of time, there are high chances of you suffering from bone fractures. Most of the men and women tend to lose a lot of calcium deposits in their bones after 40 years of age. It is seen that women after menopause tend to lose more calcium from their bones than men. There would be a significant drop in the production of oestrogen hormone in females over 40 years of age and this will lead to bones loosing calcium and other essential minerals at a rapid pace. It is also quite dangerous for young women to undergo a strict diet regimen and intense exercising as they will not be able to produce the oestrogen hormones in required proportions. There will be a sufficient amount of calcium loss in pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.
In some men and women, especially in women, the process of replacement of bones will not take place at a rapid pace like when they were in their teens and this will result in causing major bone disorders like osteoporosis. There are known and tell tale symptoms that will indicate that you are suffering from osteoporosis. You will only realize that you are a victim of osteoporosis once it gets well advanced in your body. You might suffer from a fractured hip or spine or pelvis or upper arm and the recovery would be a very slow process. If your bone mineral density is lower than normal to a certain extent, then they are signs of osteopenia. But, if your bone density reading is very low, then here is no doubt that you are suffering from a much serious disease called osteoporosis. The bone mass or bone density will be at its peak when you touch early thirties and will see a decline afterwards. So, it would be ideal for you to undergo a bone density test in your later half of thirties to determine the bone strength sand bone mass. As you age, your body will need more calcium and minerals. If it does not get the sufficient amount of calcium it needs through food intake, it will start to absorb the calcium and minerals from your bones. This will make your bones to grow weaker and might even lead to osteoporosis later.
Some of the risk factors that indicate that you might be a victim of osteoporosis are:
- Having a thinner and smaller framework
- Inactive lifestyle
- Being a female
- Smoking and consumption of alcohol
- Low calcium in your diet
- Early menopause
- Family history of osteoporosis.
Some Causes Of Osteoporosis
There is no single cause for osteoporosis. The causes might differ from person to person depending on their age, lifestyle, family medical history and so on. There are quite a few lifestyle habits that could be the cause of bone weakening.
- Excessive dieting
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Increase in the intake of caffeine
- Use of tobacco and exposure to secondhand smoke very often
- Rigorous exercising
- Irregular and abnormal eating habits
- Intake of a lot of protein
- Phosphorus imbalance
Prevention Of Bone Loss
It is highly important for you to first understand that osteoporosis is a serious and painful illness and hence it is very important for you to know the tips to prevent the disease from catching you. It is important for you to carry out weight bearing exercise like walking, jogging, or playing tennis. It is ideal for you to exercise regularly. But, never over do your exercise. It is ideal for you to quit smoking all together and to drink alcohol in moderation. Above all, it is very important for you to eat a balanced diet that is rich in calcium and Vitamin D.
Foods That Improves Bone Strength
All the dairy products are rich in calcium. Milk is a rich source of calcium which is necessary for the strengthening of our bones. One cup non-fat milk contains 300 mg of calcium. This gives 30 % of your daily needed dose of calcium. Milk which is fortified with Vitamin D is especially useful for bone strength. Vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium from the food we eat and hence vitamin D is necessary for developing bone strength and preventing conditions like osteoporosis. If you are reluctant to drink milk you can use it in smoothies and shakes.
This food is full of calcium but they are packed with calories. So it is necessary to consume this food in moderation. Even 1.5 ounces of cheddar cheese will be able to provide 30% of your daily intake. The vitamin D content is very less in cheese. So you may need additional supply of vitamin D when you are consuming cheese for your daily supply of calcium.
Yogurt is a better source of calcium than milk. One cup yogurt contains 300-400 mg of calcium. Yogurt, which is fortified with vitamin D, is a good option as they provide your body with calcium and vitamin D. The presence of vitamin D helps in the absorption of Calcium. The Greek yogurts do not have sufficient calcium and vitamin D.
These small varieties of sea fish have high levels of calcium in them. They have savory taste but can be consumed by integrating them into pastas or salads. They are really the cheapest and best source of calcium. They are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. These fish are rich in fish oils and they provide 324 mg of calcium in just 3 ounces of sardines with the bones. It is necessary that you consume at least a small portion of the bones of sardines if you want to get a good supply of calcium.
Salmon also contains a good amount of calcium but lesser than that in sardines. If you do not like sardines you can include salmons in your diet. In 3 ounces of salmon with bones there are 181mg of calcium. Salmons are good for your bones as well as for your heart.
Tuna is a fatty fish and is rich in vitamin D. Three ounces of canned Tuna can provide 39 % of the daily dose needed by your body.
If you do not like fish or dairy products, there are still different sources which help you to get enough calcium needed by the body. One among them is spinach. Spinach contains calcium, iron and fiber and vitamin A. Just one cup of cooked spinach can provide 25% of your daily calcium requirement.
Like spinach, this leafy green also provides 25% of calcium needed by the body. You can consume it in the way you need. You can make healthy frittata or you can opt for other healthy preparations using collard greens.
Eggs contain 6% of your daily need of vitamin D. They are the easiest way to get some vitamin D. If you want to get benefitted by eating eggs, you should consume the egg yolk as well. This is because the vitamin D is stored in the yolk.
Many vegetarians cannot consume fish to get the calcium needed by their body. For them, one of the best sources of calcium is the vitamin D fortified cereals. The whole wheat, and other cereals are fortified with calcium and vitamin D provide nutrient enriched breakfast. The added calcium and vitamin in these cereals increase the benefit of medications for bone loss and the exercises which help to strengthen the bones.
Orange juice is really a poor source of calcium. However the fortified orange juices are a good source of calcium. Moreover the ascorbic acid present in orange juice promotes the absorption of calcium from the food. A glass of fortified orange juice may provide 200-340 mg of calcium.
Soybeans and Tofu
Soybeans are rich in calcium you can consume soy in any form. There is soy milk, tofu which will supply a good amount of calcium. Tofu and soymilk contain more than 250mg of calcium per serving.
These molasses are used as sweeteners and they provide 137mg of calcium per tablespoon. It is considered as a super food for health. It is rich in iron and calcium. You can add it various food preparations.
Almonds as whole and as almond butter provide good amount of calcium to our body. ¼ cup of whole almonds will have 94mg of calcium and 2 tablespoons of almond butter contains 111mg of calcium.
They are low in food energy but is an excellent source of calcium, iron and selenium. They can be eaten raw, boiled, baked, smoked or in many other ways. They have maximum nutrient value when eaten raw.
Though these seeds are rich in fat content, they also provide about 35 % of our daily value of calcium.
It has been found that one cup of cooked turnip green contains 197 mg of calcium and hence are an excellent source of calcium in our diet. You need a dose of at least 1200 mg of calcium every day for achieving good bone health. It is better to split the consumption in to 400 mg three times a day as our body cannot absorb more than 500 mg of calcium at a time.
It is a plant related to cabbage and provides 9% of the daily value of calcium required by the body. This is also an excellent source of anti-oxidants.
This fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, calcium, iron, riboflavin etc. They help to prevent the erosion of calcium from bones.
Do you want to escape from the bone loss and osteoporosis in the later stages of life? Then you have to include different sources of calcium and vitamin D in your diet and should also follow an appropriate excise regime to strengthen your bones.