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Nutrition and Bone Health

2014-09-09 15:27:32

Bones are alive. They grow, develop and degenerate throughout our lives; this is because they contain collagen, calcium-phosphate mineral complexes and bone cells. Bone development is most active from childhood until we are young adults. We reach peak bone mass around the age of 25. From that stage, bone decay starts to outstrip regeneration.

The condition of losing too much bone is called osteoporosis. But it doesn’t need to go that far. There are many ways to help your bones stay healthy. Age and nutrition are major factors contributing to bone development, and, while we can’t do much about age, a well balanced diet is essential. 


How to help bone health

Many nutrients – particularly vitamin D and calcium – can promote strong bones.

Taking adequate calcium reduces bone loss, so it lowers the risk of fractures later in life. If we don’t get enough calcium from the foods we eat, we lose it from our bones. Dairy products, such as milk, yogurt and cheese, best taken in low/non fat versions, are rich sources of calcium. So, too, are green vegetables, like collard greens, broccoli, kale, bok choy, soy beans; and fish with bones, including sardines and salmon. Some processed food – almond milk, rice milk, soy milk and tofu, for example –also contain calcium.


Vitamin D plays an important role in our bodies absorbing calcium.  Normally, vitamin D is made in the skin after exposure to sunlight. If you don’t get enough sunlight, you are relying on foods to supply all you need. Vitamin D is only found in a few foods, though, such as mackerel, salmon, tuna and some milk/orange juice/soymilk fortified Vitamin D.

Adequate, high quality protein is also essential for optimal bone mass and preservation. Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals, of which, vitamin K, vitamin C, and vitamin A are particularly valuable.


Some diets have an adverse effect on bones. Caffeine, alcohol and soft drinks are just few that can lead to bone loss, because they decrease the absorption of vital nutrients like calcium.

Whatever your age, the nutrition habits you adopt can affect bone health for the rest of your life. Now is the time to take care of your bones!

From: BNH Hospital,Bangkok,Thailand

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