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Bone Health

Get on the path to healthy bones today!

Did you know we may be putting ourselves at greater risk of osteoporosis by not optimising our bone health due to our poor lifestyle habit?

In today’s fast paced world, lifestyle of how people are living and working have changed. With the advancement of technology people life have become easier, the job that required more human effort can be easily done by pressing a button or using the machine reducing the physical activity.

Eating habits have changed, more of junk food has taken over the healthy wholesome meals. What we choose to eat determines the quality of nutrient and energy we supply to our body.

Your diet, physical activity and lifestyle all affect the bone mass. It is important to care for our bone health. Bone is a living tissue, every day, our body breaks down old bone and puts new bone in its place. Imagine it like a bank, “bone bank”. As we get older, our body break down more bone than they put back. It is normal to lose some bone as we age. But, if we do not take steps to keep our bones healthy, we can lose too much bone from our “bone bank” and get osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes thinning and weakening of bones that increases susceptibility to fractures.

There might not be any obvious symptoms in the early stages of this "silent epidemic", but towards the later stages, you might feel pain in the bones or muscles, especially in areas around the lower back. Apart from pain, people with osteoporosis may suffer from spinal compression fractures resulting in loss of height with a stooped back (called dowager's hump).

This can affect your quality of life and even cause severe pain or disability.

Steps to maintain or build-up “bone bank”

1] Boost Calcium consumption: Calcium helps to keep our bones strong and

rigid. We should aim to include calcium reach sources in our diet regularly.

Milk and milk products like yogurt, cheese, and paneer are excellent sources of

calcium. For those who cannot tolerate dairy can get their calcium from green

leafy vegetable like kale, spinach, collard greens, soy or tofu, fish with bones

(sardines/salmon), nuts and seeds like almonds and sesame seeds. Two serves of

dairy and one serve of other calcium sources equate to about 1000mg of

calcium. Average individual needs 1000mg of calcium on daily basis to

maintain their “bone bank”.

2] Vitamin D: Vitamin D helps the body to absorb, retain and use calcium. A person should have around 200 to 600 units each day of vitamin D. The major source of Vitamin D is exposure to sunlight. Though availability of sunshine is plenty in our country many of us are deficient in this Vitamin. This could me due to limited UV (sunlight) exposure in case of people who are housebound, or cover their body completely or due to increased skin pigmentation. We can include Vitamin D in our diet by consuming Vitamin D rich food such as mushrooms, salmon, cod-liver oil or Vitamin D fortified foods such as milk, orange juice and cereal. Get some sun!

Vitamin K, magnesium and good quality protein are other important nutrients essential for bone health. Incorporate leafy greens, beans, nuts and whole grains in your diet every day to make it wholesome and build up your bone bank.

3] Exercise: Regular physical activity and exercising plays important role in maintaining bone density. Aim to get at least 30 minutes exercise a day. Those that work against gravity, such as walking, jogging, lifting weights, doing push- ups, or climbing stairs. Two brisk 15-minute walks for instance — can do the trick. Walking up and down the stairs multiple times a day, at work or at home, also contributes to the daily quota. Weightlifting does not need to be with heavy weights either, it can be with as little as 2 – 5 pound hand or ankle weights. Or you can use your own body weight and let gravity to do the job. Floor exercises such as leg lifts and sit ups, will work just fine. If you are uncertain, seek professional advice.

Foods to be avoided to reduce bone loss:

1] Salty Foods: too much of salt causes your body to lose calcium and can lead to bone loss.

2] Caffeine containing drinks: Coffee, tea and soft drinks (sodas), which may decrease calcium absorption. Choose these drinks in moderation.

3] Avoid substance abuse: No smoking and alcohol.

Build up on your “bone bank” by having good nutrition that provides the raw materials for bone structure, regular exercise and correct other lifestyle choices that compromise bone health.

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