Wednesday, 21 October 2015


When most people think bones, they think calcium. But it's not the only nutrient. There are other nutrients which play an important role in absorption of calcium, like vitamin D, vitamin K & magnesium. If you don't get enough calcium in your diet, your body will take calcium from your bones to ensure normal cell function, which can lead to weakened bones or osteoporosis. Approximately 1 in 2 women (& about 1 in 4 men) over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. The bones naturally loose mass, becoming more brittle. Calcium deficiency can also lead to mood problems such as irritability, anxiety, depression & difficulty in sleeping. The best line of defence is your diet- eating the right food, which can give you the maximum bone strength & boost your bone density at any age.

  1. Dairy products like milk, yogurt (curd), cheese & paneer.
  2. Fatty fish like sardines, salmon, mackerel & tuna.
  3. Eggs- Don't just opt for egg whites- they may cut calories but the vitamin D is in the yolk.
  4. Dark leafy greens & vegetables like spinach, collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, romaine lettuce, celery, broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts & asparagus.
  5. Seeds like sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, flax- Sprinkle some seeds onto your salad for bone-building power.
  6. Nuts like almonds, walnuts & peanuts.
  7. Magnesium rich foods are found in nuts (like almonds & cashews), seeds (like sesame, pumpkin & sunflower seeds), whole grains, seafood, legumes, tofu & many vegetables.
  8. Vitamin D rich foods- Sources include fortified milk, eggs, cheese, fortified cereal, butter, margarine, cream, fish, shrimp, oysters, etc.

Following foods, when consumed in excess, drain calcium from your bones & deplete your body’s calcium stores:
  1. Salt - Eating foods high in salt (sodium) contributes to calcium loss & bone breakdown. Salt shows up in nearly all processed foods including whole grain bread, breakfast cereals & fast foods.
  2. Sugary Snacks - Excess sugar inhabits calcium absorption & depletes phosphorous, another mineral important in facilitating the absorption of calcium. Satisfy your sweet tooth with prunes, dates & other anti - oxidant rich fruits.
  3. Foods with Phytates - While beans (legumes) contain calcium, magnesium, fibre & other nutrients. They are also high in substances called phytates which interfere with the calcium absorption. You can reduce the phytates level by soaking beans in water for several hours & then cooking them in fresh water.
  4. Alcohol & Caffeine - Drinking heavily can lead to bone loss as it interferes with vitamin D which in turn inhabits calcium absorption, disrupting your body’s calcium balance. Limit alcohol to not more than 2 - 3 drinks per day. Coffee, tea & soft drink (sodas) contain caffeine, which may decrease calcium absorption & contribute to more loss.

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