Your daily diet has a profound effect on your bones. Since calcium, phosphorous, and vitamin D are regarded as essential components for bone building, eating foods that are rich in these, will ensure that you have good bone-density for life. The human body can rapidly build bone-mass somewhere till the mid-30s. After this, the bone-density either remains constant or begins to gradually degenerate. It is therefore essential that you include bone strengthening foods in your diet from an early age. Weight-bearing exercises such as brisk walking, running, aerobics, weight-lifting, skipping, and so on are also important for strengthening bones. So is getting sufficient exposure to sunlight, which is crucial for getting vitamin D that aids in calcium absorption in your bones.
Why are Bone Strengthening Foods more important for Women?
Estrogen is a female hormone that plays a major role in protecting bones in women. As women towards their late 40s approach menopause, the estrogen levels tend to fall. After menopause, women are at higher risk of developing osteoporosis, because the depleted estrogen levels trigger the bone degeneration process. Hence, bone-strengthening foods are more important for women, to prevent bone-mass deterioration after menopause. Apart from menopause, there are few other high-risk groups with the probability of developing osteoporosis:-
- People who are confined indoors and don’t get enough sunlight
- Vegans with limited sources of dietary calcium
- People with largely sedentary lifestyles
Check out these 10 Best Bone Strengthening Foods for Women
- Milk and Dairy Products- Milk, yogurt, cheese, and buttermilk are excellent sources of calcium, and also contain fact-soluble vitamin D which enables the absorption of calcium in our bones. Pure ghee is being hailed as a super-food for healthy bones and joints, when had in moderation and coupled with an active lifestyle.
- Nuts– Nuts like almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, and so on, are a potent source of not just calcium, but magnesium and phosphorous. Both of these minerals are required for maintaining good bone-density. Have a handful of nuts of every day as a healthy snack!
- Seafood– Certain fish varieties like salmon, mackerel, trout and, tuna are rich in essential fatty acids, as well as vitamin D. Especially for those who do not get enough sun exposure, a seafood-rich diet is highly recommended for optimal bone health.
- Tofu- Particularly for vegans, this soy product is a fortified source of calcium and protein, for building strong bones and muscles. Also if you are lactose intolerant, you can have a glassful of soy milk daily to get the required dose of calcium.
- Green, leafy Vegetables- Broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, and similar green, leafy veggies are rich in vitamin K, calcium, and magnesium. Vitamin K also plays an important role in maintaining healthy bones.
- Eggs- For starters, don’t skip the yolk! Eggs are not just a nutrient-dense, inexpensive food source, but the egg yolk is also a good source of vitamin D.
- Bananas- Bananas play an indirect role in bone-strengthening. While this fruit doesn’t contain any bone-building nutrients, it is one of the best sources of potassium. Now potassium helps in neutralizing any other compounds in the body that are interfering with calcium absorption. So have a banana every morning for healthy bones!
- Whole Grains- Be it whole-grain breakfast cereals, brown rice, or multigrain bread, whole grains are rich in magnesium which is an important bone-building component. You can even opt for breakfast cereals fortified with calcium and vitamin D.
- Seeds- Pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, and flaxseeds are highly nutritious in terms of their calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus reserves. Incorporating these in your daily diet will ensure that you never experience bones deficiencies!
- Acacia Gum- Traditionally known as ‘Gond’, this Indian super-food is a rich source of calcium, and is popularly consumed as laddoos during winter.
Note: Avoid these Foods that interfere with Calcium Absorption
Now that you have read about bone strengthening foods, you should also know about certain foods that hinder calcium and phosphorus absorption in your bones.
- Research has shown that a high-sodium diet interferes with calcium absorption in the body. So regulate your salt intake and avoid high-sodium processed foods like chips, canned soups, cold cuts etc.
- Alcohol and caffeine are said to affect calcium absorption. So if you have a family history of osteoporosis, it best to cut down on your tea, coffee, cola and alcohol intake.
- Spinach was earlier considered to be a rich source of calcium. But nutritionists have found that its high oxalate content doesn’t allow calcium absorption. So it is nutritious food, but not a good source of calcium.
Apart from ensuring that you consume the aforementioned bone-strengthening foods, it is equally important to adhere to a healthy regime on the whole. This includes having a balanced diet, regular exercise, and getting sufficient sun exposure. For women who are well-nourished, healthy, and active, the probability of developing osteoporosis is minimal in the long run. Make these necessary changes in your lifestyle today for strong bones all the way!