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october 2012

10 Bone Builders

Nitika Sharma
Our bones play the same role in our body as do iron bars in a building. A strong frame provides structure to the body, protects the internal organs and anchors the muscles. Bones are therefore, essential for good posture, balance and strength.

Although the process of developing healthy bones begins at birth, it is essential to maintain a proper diet programme for bone health at all ages. Here is a list of ten foods that will help boost bone density at any age!

  • Milk:It is the best source of calcium required for healthy bone growth. Low fat or fat-free milk is the best choice. Milk also provides other essential nutrients required for optimal bone health. They include Potassium, Magnesium, Riboflavin, Phosphorus and Vitamins D and B12.
  • Nuts and seeds:Almonds, flaxseeds and walnuts are packed with calcium, vitamin D and Omega 3 fatty acids, which boost bone health. However, since they are high in calories, their high amounts should be avoided.
  • Egg yolk: Egg yolk contains 6 per cent of our daily Vitamin D requirement. The latter plays a vital role in the absorption of calcium and maintains bone density.
  • Fortified cereal:Various cereals available in the market now are fortified with Vitamins A and D and minerals like calcium and phosphorous. They meet up to 25 per cent of the body’s daily requirements for these nutrients.
  • Yoghurt and cheese:Dairy products like yoghurt and cheese are also packed with calcium and Vitamin D, besides proteins and other vitamins that are needed by the body for the upkeep of our bones.
  • Pumpkin and sunflower seeds:Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are amongst the richest natural sources of magnesium, which activates the enzymes for bone formation.
  • Fish:Sardines which have very high levels of calcium and Vitamin D and salmon which contains large amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids, calcium and vitamins, are other vital food components for healthy bones.
  • Vegetables: Leafy greens, roots and stalks (containing iron, calcium, Vitamins K and C), together with protein, help deposit the collagen matrix for strong bones.
  • Boron: This trace element protects calcium reserves in the bones. It is present in cabbage, dates, peas, almonds, beans, hazelnuts, apple and raisins.
  • Fats:Consumption of healthy fat is also important for overall health and the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins required for bone health.
Bone Fit Practices
  • Eat ample amount of green leafy vegetables.

  • Reduce sodium/salt intake.

  • Take at least 600 mg of calcium per day from calcium rich foods or supplements.

  • Ensure adequate protein intake, largely from plant foods .

  • Maintain a sufficient store of Vitamin D by including milk, cereals, cheese, yoghurt and the like, in your diet .

  • Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits and include Omega 3 fatty acids in your diet .

  • Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption .

  • Reduce the intake of processed foods and soft drinks.

Physical activity has a huge impact in encouraging the body to build and retain strong bones, taking the necessary calcium from food rather than from the bones.