Which foods help maintain or increase bone density?
Keeping bones healthy throughout depends on getting sufficient amounts of specific vitamins and minerals through dietary sources. They are minerals like calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, boron, manganese, copper, zinc and folate, and vitamins like D, B12, B6, C, and K.
Isoflavones, found primarily in soy products, have shown to increase bone density and slow bone loss in menopausal women.
My 10-year-old daughter’s teeth are not good. Is it due to a calcium deficiency? What foods are recommended for her to have healthy teeth and stronger bones?
Poor and misaligned permanent teeth might be a result of poor oral hygiene, unhealthy food choices, faulty habits like nail biting or lack of a well-balanced eating pattern. A high intake of dietary calcium is essential for the growth of strong bones and teeth. Besides adding calcium-rich sources in your child’s diet, ensure that she eats a balanced and nutrient-dense diet comprising complex carbohydrates, lean proteins and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Children aged four to 11 years should have at least two to three servings of dairy products per day. Give your daughter a strawberry or a chocolate milkshake if she refuses to drink plain milk. Also, get her into the habit of eating curd everyday. Besides, give her two glasses of carrot juice everyday. It is a rich source of calcium.
My wife is 52 years old and has arthritis. She doesn’t like dairy products and refuses to have milk. What other foods can she have to help strengthen her bones?
Milk is not the only solution for healthy bones. Ask your wife to drink a glass of raw carrot and spinach juice everyday. It contains approximately 300 mg of calcium as against 240 mg in 200 ml of cow’s milk. Most whole pulses have between 200 to 250 mg of calcium per 100 gm of raw dal.
Eat about two to three tablespoon of white and black sesame seeds daily (100 gm of sesame seeds contain 1,400 mg of calcium). Other good sources include green leafy vegetables, broccoli, soy beans, figs and cereals. Nutrients like magnesium, vitamin D and A are also needed. However, if your wife has arthritis, she needs to detoxify her body and improve her digestion in order to improve absorption of nutrients, which in turn will strengthen her bones.
Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and the founder of Health Total, a nutrition counselling centre.