CHENNAI: Bone, muscle, joint health and nutrition are closely related. Consuming a healthy diet every day can help you prevent musculoskeletal disorders.
Adequate nutrition is essential for the development and maintenance of bone health. Calcium, vitamin D and magnesium are key nutrients to improve bone health along with other nutrients like phosphorus, vitamin K, vitamin C and vitamin A.
Foods to be consumed moderately to ensure good bone health
Some foods, when you have too much of them, can be bad for your bone health. Keep these tips in mind:
- Restrict or reduce the alcohol. Drinking more than 2-3 drinks per day can actually lead to bone loss.
- Cut back on caffeine. Limit the amount of coffee, tea, and soda in daily meals. It will reduce the calcium absorption by the body.
- Eat less sodium. Too much sodium intake will lead to calcium loss in the body.
- Avoid smoking as it hampers the work of bone-building cells and increases the risk of fracture.
- Eat lots of vegetables: Vegetables are great for bones as they are the best source of vitamin C. Vitamin C stimulates the production of bone-forming cells and the antioxidants protect cells from damage.
- Vitamin D and vitamin K: Vitamin D plays several roles in bone health, including better absorption of calcium. It can be sourced through sun exposure and foods such as fatty fish, liver and cheese. Vitamin K supports bone health and helps prevent the loss of calcium from bones. Common food sources are liver, eggs, meat, green leafy vegetables, prunes, kiwi, green peas, cabbage and broccoli.
- Consume high-calcium foods throughout the day: Calcium is the most important mineral for bone health, and it is the main mineral found in your bones. Spreading your calcium intake throughout the day will optimise absorption.
- Magnesium and zinc: Zinc promotes the formation of bone-building cells and prevents the excessive breakdown of bone. Good sources of zinc include beef, shrimp, spinach, flaxseeds, oysters and pumpkin seeds. Magnesium helps the body in converting vitamin D into the active form that promotes calcium absorption. Dietary sources of magnesium are dark chocolates, green leafy vegetables, avocados, bananas, nuts and seeds.
- Consume enough protein: Protein is important for healthy bones. Low protein intake can lead to bone loss, while a high protein intake can help protect bone health during ageing and weight loss.
- Consume foods high in Omega-3 fats: Omega-3 fatty acids are well-known for their anti-inflammatory effects. It promotes formation of new bones and protects against bone loss. Food sources include chia seeds, flax seeds, walnut, oysters, fishes like salmon and sardine.
Bone health is important at all stages of life. However, having strong bones is something people tend to take for granted, as symptoms often don’t appear until bone loss is advanced. Fortunately, there are many nutrition and lifestyle habits that can help build and maintain strong bones — and it’s never too early to start.
The writer is founder and chief nutritionist at Sano Holistic Nutrition Clinic