Food for Your Bones

Healthy bones require eating a healthy and balanced diet along with following an active lifestyle. Read more...

Sheela Krishnaswamy
Sheela Krishnaswamy
Sheela Krishnaswamy is a Registered Dietitian with 38 years of professional experience in the clinical, corporate and communication spaces. She was trained in India and overseas. She is active in national and international dietetic associations. She has had a media presence for the last 25 years. Formerly, a successful nutrition entrepreneur, an editor, a public speaker and a blogger, currently she works independently as Nutrition & Wellness Consultant, Advisor, Anchor, Writer and Corporate Trainer.

Bones are vital structures in a human body. There are over 200 bones in an adult. They undergo structural and biological changes continuously depending on the demands placed on them. While all the first 20 years of life are important in bone development, approximately 40% to 60% of adult bone mass is achieved during adolescence.(1)

The most important nutrients for bone formation and maintenance are calcium and vitamin D. In addition to macro minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and magnesium which have well-known roles in bone health, trace elements such as boron, iron, zinc, copper and selenium also impact bone metabolism.(2) A balanced diet and adequate sun exposure will provide the nutrients required to build and maintain healthy bones.

The latest RDA for calcium is 1000 mg per adult per day and for vitamin D is 600 IU per person per day. Food sources of calcium include ragi, dairy foods, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, whole channa, horse gram, rajma, soy, almonds, and leafy greens like amaranthus, drumstick leaves, methi leaves, radish leaves, mustard leaves, parsley, curry leaves and mint leaves. Sunlight contributes to majority of the vitamin D needed for the body. Egg yolk and oily fish are the only natural food sources with good amount of this vitamin.  Fortified foods are now available with vitamin D. 

Poor bone health can cause rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults, which increases the risk of fractures. Avoiding risk factors that leach calcium out from the bones contributes to maintenance of bone health. Some factors that increase the risk of osteoporosis are older age, gender (females are more susceptible), severe calorie restriction leading to weight loss, excessive intake of alcohol, lack of physical activity, smoking, stress, inadequate nutrient absorption, and so on.(3)

Eat right and move more for bone health!

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