A well-balanced nutritious diet accompanied with an active lifestyle and adequate rest is the key to overall health and well-being. Each nutrient plays a vital role in keeping us healthy by significantly contributing to the body’s processes. In this article, we will talk about some of the nutrients, which are required specifically for healthy bones.
1.Calcium - Calcium is one of the important nutrients required to keep our bones healthy. Approx. 90% of the calcium in our body is present in bones and teeth. Since our body cannot produce it on its own, therefore, an adequate intake of calcium is imperative for bone health. Some of the foods rich in calcium are ragi, soybean, kidney beans, milk and milk products.
2.Vitamin D - Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent across the world. Lack of vitamin D is associated with many adverse effects including poor bone health. This is because it assists in the absorption of calcium, phosphorus and also helps in mineralization of bones. Prolonged deficiency of vitamin D results in weaker and softer bones that are more prone to stress and fall fractures. Hence, the diet should be rich in milk, milk products, eggs, mushrooms and vitamin D fortified foods. Exposure to sunlight or vitamin D supplement is also a great option.
3.Magnesium - This miracle mineral is required for the regulation of vitamin D and calcium absorption regulation. We need magnesium for the stimulation of calcitonin hormone, which helps in the deposition of calcium in the bones from our blood, hence providing strength to our bones. Therefore, magnesium-rich foods like nuts, green leafy vegetables, legumes, whole grains and avocados are necessary in the diet if you want stronger bones.
4.Potassium - Potassium being an important electrolyte helps maintain the acid-base balance of the body. It prevents the excretion of calcium and phosphorus out of the body, hence, preserves calcium and maintains bone density. Therefore, include plenty of potassium-rich foods like coconut-water, banana, sweet potatoes, peas, dates, prunes, orange, cantaloupe and broccoli in your diet for keeping bones strong.
5.Phosphorus - Phosphorus is another mineral, which acts with calcium and vitamin D to maintain bone mineralization. It also neutralises acidic foods in the body which otherwise may harm our bones. Therefore, it is essential to include foods containing phosphorus in the diet like chicken, meat, seafood, milk, nuts, sunflower seeds, lentil, quinoa and whole grains.
6. Zinc - Zinc is known for its role in the collagen synthesis, which makes it critical for our bone and joints health. In addition, zinc has also been observed to assist in bone healing. Hence, choose zinc-rich foods like meat, legumes, nuts, eggs, whole grains, dairy and pumpkin seeds.
7.Vitamin A - Vitamin A is known to keep our eyes and vision healthy. But we also need this vitamin for healthy bones. Vitamin A is needed for the synthesis of bone-building cells called osteoblasts. Also, people susceptible to fractures and osteoporosis usually have low vitamin A levels. This vitamin contributes to calcium metabolism and absorption hence keeps our bones healthy. Foods rich in vitamin A are eggs, liver, green leafy vegetables, pumpkin, mango, orange, bell peppers and sweet potatoes.
8.Vitamin C - Vitamin C, popularly known for its immunity-boosting properties. But, the vitamin provides structure to collagen strands hence keeping our joints, bones, cartilage, tendons and ligaments strong. Vitamin C rich foods are citrus fruits, orange, lime, grapefruit, kiwi, guava and amla.
9.Vitamin B12 - Similar to vitamin A, vitamin B12 is also known to influence osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Hence, preserves bone minerals and provide strength. Opt for eggs, liver, chicken, fish, milk, cheese, yoghurt and vitamin B12 fortified cereals to maintain the levels in the body.
10.Vitamin K - Along with the blood clotting process, our body needs vitamin K for bone health as well. This fat-soluble vitamin maintains bone density by influencing the gene, which differentiates osteoblasts, hence assisting in bone formation. To consume vitamin K, opt for foods like dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, eggs and organ meat.
To sum up, the above-mentioned vitamins and minerals are very crucial in order to keep bones healthy. Lack of any might weaken our bones and disrupt bone metabolism. Prolonged deficiency of these nutrients increases the chances of osteoporosis in the later stages, which causes pores in bones and brittle bones that makes bone to break easily even with a slight jerk or stress. Hence, make sure to consume above-listed foods in your diet to enjoy the benefits of all. In the case of dietary insufficiency, one can also opt for a vitamin/mineral supplement or a multivitamin. Care should be taken with the dosage as over consumption might cause toxicity or hypervitaminosis leading to detrimental side effects.