Bone Health in Women, Bone Healthy form 15% of our body weight. Bones provide structure to our body, protect vital organs, store calcium and help in anchoring muscles.
Less calcium deposition during bone development phase can lead to weaker bones later in life leading to various bone diseases like osteoporosis.
Bone Health in Women
The RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) of calcium for women between the age of 19-50 yrs is 1000 mg/day. This requirement increases to 1200 mg/day for women between 50-70 yrs of age.
- Low calcium intake – Low intake of calcium leads to reduced bone density, early bone loss and increased risk of fractures.
- Physical inactivity – People who are physically inactive are at more risk of developing
- Gender and Hormonal changes- Minimal changes in bone mass begin to occur in women after the age of 30 yrs. After menopause, women are more at risk of bone problems like osteoporosis as they have less bone tissue than men.
After menopause there is a drop in the estrogen levels which increases the risk of bone problems. Increased thyroid hormone also causes bone loss.
How to keep your bones healthy?
- Adequate intake of nutrients to maintain strong and healthy bones
Calcium and Vitamin D-
Calcium and vitamin D are vital nutrients for bone development. They are required for a process called bone remodeling in which the old bone cells wear out and new bone cells grow to replace them. Calcium intake is necessary for growing children for proper bone development and later in adulthood to keep the bones strong.
Foods that are rich in calcium are green leafy vegetables, millet such as jowar, bajra, ragi (nachni), rajgira, soyabean, nuts like sesame seeds(til seeds), groundnuts, dairy products and fish like sardines, salmon etc.
Vitamin D helps the bones to absorb calcium. Vitamin D is found in very few foods hence daily exposure to sunlight is the best source of vitamin D.
In addition to natural foods, supplements are also available but their requirement depends on how much calcium you are receiving from food. Calcium supplements are available in various compounds like calcium carbonate, calcium citrate etc. The amount of elemental calcium in any supplement is the actual amount of calcium present in it.
Magnesium– It stimulates the hormone calcitonin which helps to maintain the bone structure by drawing calcium from the blood stream and soft tissues back into the bones thereby reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Magnesium is mainly found in green leafy vegetables, nuts, whole grains, beans etc.
Phosphorous– It is an essential nutrient for proper growth and formation of bones. It also promotes re-mineralization of bones to keep them healthy. Dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, poultry, whole grains, nuts and legumes are all good sources of phosphorous.
Vitamin K– Vitamin K has a positive effect on bone mineral density and reduces fracture risk. Foods rich in Vitamin K are green leafy vegetables, vegetable oils, broccoli, etc.
- Being physically active and maintaining ideal body weight– Weight bearing exercises like jogging, climbing stairs coupled with strength building exercises which work on specific muscle groups help in building stronger bones by increasing bone density and reducing bone loss.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol- Caffeine causes the body to excrete calcium quickly hence should be avoided. Alcohol lowers your body’s ability to absorb calcium.
- Hormone replacement therapy- Hormone replacement therapy is used to replace the lost estrogen after men Besides this, there are other medications also to treat osteoporosis. Talk to your doctor about it before considering this form of treatment.
Maintaining good bone health is important from a very young age. Eating healthy, balanced, calcium rich meals and maintaining a healthy weight throughout life is the key to good bone health.