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Not only our bones give our bodies shape and allow us to move, but they also protect our brain, heart, and other organs from injury. We begin losing bone mass or density as we age. Poor bone health can cause rickets, osteoporosis and increase the risk of fractures later in life. So, what can we do to build and maintain healthy bones?
"Building healthy bones is crucial, especially, as we age. If we do not create enough bone mass before attaining 30 years of age, the risk of developing fragile bones increases. The good news is that nutrition and lifestyle habits help in building and maintaining bones," says Dr. Anant Pandhare, Medical Director Dr. Hedgewar Hospital.
Talking to the HealthSite, Dr. Pandhare, shares some tips we can follow to build healthy bones to have a playful life ahead. He says -
Eat a balanced diet. It will help you build healthy bones from an early age and maintain them throughout your life. Eating a variety of vegetables is a good source of vitamin C. It stimulates the production of bone-forming cells, as well as its antioxidant effects, may protect bone cells from damage. In addition, vegetables also increase bone mineral density, known as bone density. One should also be mindful about consuming vitamin D which helps the body absorb calcium.
High-impact exercises are the best for bone health. Studies show that older men and women who performed these exercises have high bone mineral density, bone strength, and bone size. Weight-bearing exercises also helps to tackle inflammation inside the body. They also protect bone loss in those suffering from osteoporosis and osteopenia. However, to achieve maximum benefits, proper breathing and technique are important factors for safe lifting. Consider doing these exercises under expert supervision.
If the bone density is very low and you are not able to do weight training, then do at least some yoga. Exercise is very important in all age group. Consult your physiotherapist, yoga therapist or fitness coaches who can help find out the best exercise for yourself.
Bone health is important at all stages of life as symptoms often don't appear until bone loss reaches an advanced stage. Start working towards a healthy life without delay.
When it comes to bone health, these nutrients are important - Calcium Magnesium, Vitamin D, Zinc and Vitamin K, etc.
Calcium: For this nutrient, you can add green leafy vegetable, ragi, rajgira, bajra, milk and milk product to your diet. Sprouts can be a good source for calcium, and you may be surprised to know that oranges give you more calcium than milk. So, equip yourself with a good knowledge about food and nutrition.
In India, we have lots of food which are rich in calcium. So, before going with calcium supplements, go for calcium-rich foods. Because research proves that excessive supplements may cause renal or cardiac health issues.
Vitamin D - There is no as such good vegetarian sources for Vitamin D, other than mushrooms. We get the nutrient from eggs, fish, poultry and other non-vegetarian sources.
Research reveals that majority of South Asians are vitamin D deficient despite getting good sun exposure. It is always better to check your vitamin D level with the help of blood test to know your exact requirement. It can help you to plan safe and right vitamin D supplement dose under a doctor's guideline.
Magnesium and Zinc - These nutrients are required for better absorption of calcium. So, it is always better to plan this nutrient with your calcium. For this nutrient, vegetarians can include different nuts and oilseeds like sesame seeds sunflower seeds, Niger seeds, pumpkin seeds, Nigella seeds, flaxseed, poppy seeds to their diet.
Vitamin K - All green leafy vegetables are a good source of Vitamin K, as well as Indian gooseberry (Amala), ragi, green apple, etc.
Avoid excessive tea, coffee and carbonated drinks because it hinders the calcium absorption.