A Calcium Rich Diet For Strong Bones

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Bones are inflexible organs that also form a part of endoskeleton of vertebrates.  Bones come in different shapes and sizes; they are light in weight, but at the same time they are also strong and hard.  The complex nature of its internal and external structure and the fact that bones perform several functions makes it a unique and important feature of our body.

Our body has 206 bones and they team up with muscles and joints to perform certain functions that are essential for our well being.  First, bones give structure and shape to our body.  The muscles attached to the bones provide flexibility and enables our body to move.    Second, bones act as protective shield for certain very fragile organs of the body like the brain, spinal cord, the heart and the lungs.  Third, the bone marrow present inside the bones is responsible for producing and storing new blood cells.  Finally the bones help to control different proteins and nutrients that our body accumulates in due course which even includes calcium and phosphorous.

Imagine a body without any bones – it would look like a pile of soft tissue devoid of any structure or movement.  Not taking proper care of the bones could lead to the bones becoming weak and brittle in the long run.

So how do you take care of your bones so that they remain healthy and strong all the time?  Go on, read further to find an answer to this question.

Calcium is an essential element that can keep your bones both strong and healthy throughout your life.  Not only that, calcium is also important to ensure the smooth functioning of your body.  A sufficient amount of calcium is already present in your body and most of it is stored in your bones and teeth.  Thus a diet low in calcium will result in the bones being broken down literally to normalize the level of calcium in the blood.  Such is the importance of this mineral; calcium plays a major role in controlling vital functions of your body such as heartbeat and blood pressure.

Therefore it is clear that your body gets regular supply of calcium from two different sources – one is from the food and the calcium supplements that you take and other, which is of course harmful for your body, is directly from the bones where its stored.  The second source comes into play only when you are not consuming enough calcium rich food.  Here it is very important to get the concept right because it is only then will you be able to proceed in the right direction.  The bone is a reservoir of calcium and the body is constantly removing and replacing small amounts of calcium from the bones.  However if the body is removing more calcium than it is able to replace, you run the risk of destroying your bones totally, as it creates calcium deficiency which also explains why people suffer from diseases like osteoporosis.

So the bottom-line is calcium intake should be sufficient enough to keep its supply topped up.  Now the question before you is how you can do that.  Let’s look at some food items that are a rich source of calcium.

Dairy

Photo Credit : Fermentation.typepad.com

Dairy products like milk, yoghurt and cheese are the best source of calcium if they are taken in the form that is easily digestible and absorbed by the body.  Milk contains about 300 mg of calcium and non fat yoghurt has about 500 mg of calcium per serving.  However some of you may be lactose intolerant i.e. you may not be able to digest dairy products easily.  In that case you can take a pill, like a capsule or tablet before consuming any dairy product.   Purchase milk that has lactose enzyme added to it.  Dairy or milk that is raw and refined is said to be the best.  According to ayurvedic tradition, raw milk can be easily digestible if it is brought to a quick boil and then cooled.  Consume it after adding a pinch of ginger, cardamom, nutmeg or turmeric.  This procedure disintegrates the protein from the milk thus making it more digestible.

 

Green Vegetables And Herbs

It is a common knowledge that dairy products help to strengthen our bones but at the same time one must not forget that fruits and vegetables give longevity to bones by protecting bone health.  Green leafy vegetables like mustard greens, turnips, kale, celery, broccoli, fennel, cabbage, green beans, brussel sprouts, asparagus etc. all play a major role in supplying calcium to your body.  Meat when digested creates acid inside the stomach.  In order to subsidies the acidic formation minerals are pulled from the bones which further cause the bones to deteriorate.  Fruits and vegetables, when consumed in abundance create an alkaline environment inside the stomach which in turn counterbalances the acidity.  This enables the bone to retain its original structure.  Amongst beans you can try and have black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, white beans, black-eyed peas, or baked beans as they are a rich source of protein.  Herbs and spices not only add flavor to your food but they also boosts the level of calcium in your body.  You can try herbs like basil, thyme, cinnamon, garlic, oregano, rosemary and parsley.

Foods Rich In Magnesium, Vitamin D And Vitamin K

Magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K are the necessary counterparts of calcium which ensures that your body totally absorbs and make use of the calcium that you consume on a regular basis.  Rich sources of magnesium are found in nuts, seeds, sea foods, whole grains, legumes and many vegetables.  Vitamin D is very crucial when it comes to preservation of bone health.  Regular exposure to direct sunlight is enough to fulfill the vitamin D content in your body.  However this may not always be possible especially during the winter.  Therefore food sources and supplements that are rich in vitamin D are the best option.  High amount of vitamin D can be found in fatty fish like sardines, tuna, salmon, shrimp, cod and catfish.  Milk, cheese, eggs, butter, cereals, oysters are also fortified with vitamin D.  Vitamin K another important nutrient that is necessary to regularize the flow of calcium in your body can be found in abundance in green leafy vegetables like broccoli, brussel sprouts, dark green lettuce and kale.

Along with nutritious diet regular exercise and sufficient sleep is also required to retain bones health and structure.  Bones being living tissues, regular physical exercise only works to enhance the bones strength by giving birth to new tissues.  Research has proved that the risk of osteoporosis is lowered manifold for people who exercise regularly.  Weight bearing physical activities like jogging, weightlifting, dancing, walking, hiking, stair climbing etc. are especially helpful in this regard.

I am sure by now all your doubts have been cleared and you fully understand the multitudinous importance of calcium in your body.  Make sure that the food that you eat has enough calcium content so that the bones are able to regain their structure.  Here, you have a choice to make – whether you would like to walk straight throughout your life or not.  Even though the answer is very simple, you need to take care to back it up.

Photo Credit : Healthlob.com

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This entry was posted in Diet.