When we see elderly people walking upright and even see them jogging in the nearby park, it leaves us guessing – what is it that makes them so much fitter and stronger at such an age? On the contrary we also see young people around us, unable to move properly or limp or find it difficult to make normal movements.
Well! The answer to it is efforts and good health, especially taking good care on our bones, right from the beginning – a healthy balanced diet which consists of foods that promote bone health right from our early age. Yes, it is true that as we age, bone health becomes a concern.
Bones are an important part of our body constitution and we should maintain and keep them healthy by feeding them with the right food and ensue their longevity. Poor health of our bones can cause certain conditions like osteoporosis and rickets and increase the risk of damage or break from injuries as we start aging. By eating a healthy and balanced diet we are able to provide all the nutrients required for healthy bones.
Foods that help maintain a healthy bone structure and strengthen our skeleton:
When it is about building and strengthening our bone structure there are two essential nutrients involved – calcium and vitamin D, wherein, calcium aids in support bone and teeth structure, vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium and bone growth. The process should start at an early age, so that as we age our bones does not become brittle and prone to breaking and damages.
- Dark Leafy Greens and Veggies: It’s not any gimmick. Try to teach and make greens your favourite choice when it is about foods. They are just what the bones needs – the bone-building nutrients (Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin K). Some good ones are spinach, dandelion, kale and Swiss chard.
Nuts and Seeds: Bones are not just hard and solid structures, they are living and have cells too and fluids. The bone cells break and again builds up and that is how they heal after braking and also remain strong. The moment we think of bones, calcium is the first thing that comes to our mind. Our entire skeleton is made up of 50% calcium, but at the same time it is other minerals too that is important.
Manganese in one such mineral that resides on our bones and its good source is seeds – pumpkin, Brazil Nuts and other seeds.
Walnuts are enriched with alpha linoleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids and helps decrease chances of bone breakdown.
- Yoghurt and other Dairy products: Has high contents of proteins and good gut bacteria, and thereby promoting good health. It is also enriched with high quantity of calcium. Best is to go for low-fat yoghurt which serves as a healthy snack and keeps you fuller. Greek yoghurt is enriched with the additional goodness of extra proteins.
Milk is a good source of calcium and vitamin D and helps to delay the loss of bone mass. It is also fortified. Choose non-fat milk for a better outcome.
- Fatty Fish like Salmon and Tuna: Mainly known for its high contents of omega-3 fatty acids, certain species of salmon like to sockeye salmon is high in vitamin D also. Tuna is another good source of vitamin D and calcium. Make sure you add these two in your diet to fulfil your daily dose of the much needed vitamin and calcium.
- Beans: Especially black, white, kidney and pinto beans provides with a good dosage of vitamin D and some amount of calcium. Also people who eat beans in appropriate quantities in their diet, have lower risks of heart diseases, obesity and even cancers. Enjoy them the way you like.
Bone health has been a universal health concern for all ages. If its care and maintenance are started at a younger age, you will be one of those who people will admire when you jog around in the nearby park at an older age. Diet and supplements are the best way to keep feeding the bones with the right nutrients.
Ashu Gupta is the founder of Ashu Gupta’s Diet Clinic and an acclaimed dietician and nutritionist. Her desires to see people around her life, a life full of good health and happiness made her pursue a career in food, health and nutrition. She staunchly believes that healthy living is not about just eating plain and tasteless foods and following strict guidelines with a lot of restrictions, but it is about enjoying life to the fullest with certain lifestyle modifications and enjoying all the good foods.