बुढ़ापे में हड्डियाँ कैसे स्वस्थ रखें? How to have Healthy Bones in Old age?

Author : Dr. P. D.GUPTA

Former Director Grade Scientist, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, India


In most of us during old age, the structure and strength of bones change. This can lead to a decrease in bone strength that can increase the risk of fractures (broken bones). This disease is called as Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a “silent” disease because we typically do not have symptoms, and may not even know that we are suffering from osteoporosis until we break our bones. Osteoporosis is the major cause of fractures in postmenopausal women and in older men. Fractures can occur in any bone but happen most often in bones of the hip, backbone, and wrist.

Aging is a common cause of low bone mineral density. Other factors that contribute to this disease include eating disorders, metabolism problems, exposure to radiation, chemotherapy, family history, lack of physical activity, smoking, regular consumption of sodas, and excessive alcohol consumption. Therefore, especially one should take a bone density test every few years 40. Here are 10 top ways to prevent the loss of bone mineral density.

1.     Consume Adequate Calcium.  Calcium is one of the most important minerals for improving bone density. Our bones are made of calcium, so this nutrient is essential for preventing any bone-related diseases. Between the ages of 19 and 50 we should consume around 1,000 mg of calcium daily. Women at a higher risk of contracting bone diseases should consume 1,200 mg of calcium per day.

We can get our daily requirements from, dark green vegetables,   dairy products, jaggery(gur), dried fruits, and fortified soy products such as tofu and sardines(fish, not red meat)

2.     Boost Vitamin D Intake. Vitamin D is another essential nutrient that improves bone health and reduces the risk of bone fractures. Furthermore, vitamin D also helps your body utilize calcium better.

We can get vitamin D by eating eggs, fish, and fortified foods such as cereal and orange juice. Our bodies also produce vitamin D when exposed to the sun, so take the time to enjoy 10-15 minutes of early morning sun exposure each day.

3.   Regular exercise. Exercise is great for overall health and bone health is no exception to this rule. Our bones form and remodel in response to physical stress, thus regular physical activity is a great way to prevent the loss of bone mineral density. For good bone health, aim for around 30 minutes of weight-bearing activities most days of the week. Activities like walking, hiking, and dancing are all great choices.

4. Quit Smoking. Smoking is bad for our overall health, especially bone health. Smoking prevents the body from efficiently absorbing calcium, thus decreasing bone mass. In fact, smokers are at a much higher risk of fractures than non-smokers. Therefore, one should try to quit smoking as soon as possible.

5. Consume Less Caffeine.  Coffee does have some health benefits when consumed in limited amounts, but too much caffeine in any form is not good for our bones. Excess caffeine intake can interfere with the body's ability to absorb calcium, which is vital for good bone health.

Avoid energy drinks, chocolates, and Coca-Cola.

6. Eat Foods Rich in Vitamin K Vitamin K will give a boost to our bone mineral density level. This particular vitamin helps the body make proteins for healthy bones and reduces the amount of calcium that is excreted by the body.

Vitamin K rich foods include kale, Brussels sprouts, turnip greens, fermented dairy products, broccoli, and prunes.

7. Reduce Sodium intake. Salt causes excessive calcium excretion through the kidneys. In fact, too much salt appears to be a risk factor for bone fragility. To improve your bone health, it's essential that we limit our salt intake. The American Heart Association suggests consuming less than 6g of salt a day.

8. Pump Up Potassium. Potassium is known to be important for muscle health, but it is also beneficial for bone health. This mineral neutralizes acids that remove calcium from the body. The recommended daily intake of potassium for adults is 4700 mg.

The best sources of potassium are avocados, bananas, strawberries, kiwis, mangos, apricots, carrots, dates, sweet potatoes, spinach, broccoli, and red peppers.

9. Eat Magnesium-Rich Foods. We should eat magnesium-rich foods every day. Magnesium is needed in over 325 enzyme systems in the body that control thousands of chemical interactions and it's also vital for bone health. It stimulates the hormone calcitonin, which preserves bone structure by drawing calcium out of the blood and soft tissues and back into the bones. Great sources of magnesium are almonds, avocados, beans, bananas, pumpkin seeds, tofu, soy milk, pecans, walnuts, potatoes with skin, yogurt, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables. Though it is seasonal, we get plenty of Magnesium from water-nut (singhada)

10. Vitamin C intake. Vitamin C can also help prevent loss of bone mineral density. Collagen is the main protein in bones, and vitamin C plays a major role in collagen synthesis. To get vitamin C into your diet, eat fruit and vegetables such as bell peppers, oranges, broccoli, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, kiwi, pineapple, and cauliflower. (The author has his own study and views)