As we age, our strong bones tend to weaken. The bone density reduces, and the degenerative effect of age leads to many problems in our skeletal system. Even growing kids are required to take in sufficient amounts of calcium for better bone health and Vitamin D for more efficient absorption of calcium in the body. Low calcium in the bones can cause rickets in children and osteoporosis in older people. It is better to divide your calcium-rich foods during the day as the body is unable to absorb more than 500 milligrams of calcium in one go.
Importance of bone health
Your bones are continuously changing, old bone is broken down when new bone is formed. When you’re younger, your body has enough capability to make new bones faster and your bone mass increases. The higher your bone mass, the less you are likely to develop osteoporosis when you age.
What affects bone health?
Certain factors can affect bone health, such as:
- The lack of calcium in your diet.
- People who are physically inactive.
- Regular use of tobacco and alcohol.
- Women have a greater risk of osteoporosis.
- Thinner people have less bone mass.
- If someone in your family has osteoporosis then you are at the greatest risk of osteoporosis.
- High levels of thyroid hormone.
- Eating disorders and certain medications.
Top 10 Foods for Stronger Bones
Let us have a look at some of the foods that help with stronger bones.
Eating a bowl of yoghurt a day can provide one-third of your daily calcium requirement and one-fifth of your vitamin D requirement. It is naturally high in Vitamin D and calcium.
Three glasses of milk daily are enough for fulfilling some of the daily requirements of calcium. If you don't like having plain milk, you could use it in smoothies or any other things.
Just a slice of cheese daily in your meal can boost your bone health. Not only is cheese rich in calcium, but it is also high in vitamin D.
Spinach is full of protein, calcium, vitamins, and other essential minerals, all of which are helpful in making your bones stronger. Eating a cup of spinach a day is enough to cover up 1/4th part of your daily calcium requirement.
Eat calcium-rich foods for bones
Calcium is the most vital mineral for bone health and the main mineral present in your bones. Because old bone cells are constantly broken down and replaced by new ones, it’s important to consume calcium on a daily basis to protect bone structure and strength.
However, the quantity of calcium your body actually absorbs can vary.
If you eat a meal containing more than 500 mg of calcium, your body will absorb a much lesser amount of it than if you consume a lower amount.
Get Plenty of vitamins for strong bones and joints
Vitamin D and vitamin K are key components for building strong bones.
It plays plenty of roles in bone health, including helping your body absorb calcium. Children and adults with low vitamin D levels usually have lower bone density and are at more risk for bone loss.
You might be able to get sufficient vitamin D through sun exposure and food sources such as fatty fish, liver and cheese. However, many people need to take supplements with up to 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily to maintain optimal levels.
Vitamin K2 supports bone health by modifying osteocalcin, a protein used in bone formation. This modification lets osteocalcin bind to minerals in bones and helps prevent the loss of calcium from bones.
The very common forms of vitamin K2 are MK-4 and MK-7. MK-4 exists in small quantities in liver, eggs and meat. Fermented foods like cheese, sauerkraut and a soybean product called natto have MK-7.
Include Foods High in Magnesium and Zinc
Magnesium plays an important role in converting vitamin D into an active form that helps calcium absorption.
Although magnesium is found in very less amounts in most foods, there are only a few excellent food sources of magnesium.
Zinc helps make up the mineral portion of your bones which is a trace mineral needed in small portions.
Zinc also enhances the formation of bone-building cells and prevents the excessive breakdown of bone.
Few sources of zinc are beef, shrimp, spinach, flaxseeds, oysters and pumpkin seeds.
This winter vegetable is also good for your bones. The turnips greens help to fulfil the daily need for calcium in the body to a certain level.
Consume protein-rich food
Getting enough protein is vital for having healthy bones. About 50 per cent of our bones are made of protein. Low protein intake can reduce calcium absorption and may also affect rates of bone formation and breakdown.
However, concerns have also been raised that high-protein diets drain calcium from bones in order to counteract increased acidity in the blood.
Nevertheless, as per studies, this doesn’t occur in people who consume up to 100 grams of protein daily, as long as it is balanced with a lot of plant foods and adequate calcium intake.
In fact, research suggests that older women, in particular, seem to have better bone density when they consume proteins in higher amounts.
Dry fruits and nuts are excellent sources of calcium and vitamin D. Daily exposure to sunlight is necessary for good bone health. The human body is able to produce vitamin D only in the sunlight, and that is required to keep the bones healthy. Growing kids, old people, and pregnant women, those who usually stay indoors must take extra care of their bone health.
Bone health is very essential at every stage of life.
However, having strong bones is something people take for granted, as signs often don’t appear until bone loss is severe.
Fortunately, there are plenty of nutrition and lifestyle habits that can help you build and maintain strong bones.