Friday, June 10, 2011

Treasure your bones

If you ever had a fracture, you know how painful it is. That itch, discomfort, missed school/college/work and fun activities…it’s a total let down. Now imagine, someone fracturing his/her bones (thigh, arms, hip, wrists) every other day!! Unfortunately, this condition is fairly common (especially in old age) and is medically known as osteoporosis or osteomalacia.

Are you prone?
Yes, if :
1. You are White or Asian
2. Have a small frame
3. Have a family history
4. Have crossed menopause
5. Suffering from amenorrhea
6. Are malnourished or have a history of serious malnourishment in growth years (childhood & adolescence)
7. Smoking and drinking
8. Using steroids

Prevention of this condition does not require any elaborate measures. Healthy diet and regular exercise is the key.

Nutrients in focus
Calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D are the main requirements for bone health. Here are some foods which can be taken in our daily diet.

a. Calcium rich foods
Dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt; grains and pulses such as rajmah(kidney beans), bengal gram, soyabean; green leafy vegetables e.g. fenugreek or methi, amaranth, agathi, collards, kale, turnip greens, mustard greens, broccoli

b. Phosphorus rich foods
Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, Milk and milk products, tofu and leavened breads.
Most protein rich foods will also have good amounts of phosphorus.

c. Vitamin D rich foods
Fish liver oils, egg yolk, liver, oysters and dairy products.
Vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium & phosphorus and is required for bone formation.

None of them should be taken in excess and so, the supplements should be taken under medical supervision only.

Exercise
Weight bearing activities strengthen the bones, hence brisk walking, jogging, dancing, hiking, cycling and weight lifting are a few good options for optimal bone health.
Keeping a good posture is not only favourable for looks but it also keep your bones in shape.

If you already have osteoporosis, then consult your doctor for appropriate activity advice.

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