Old age reminds us of stiff and painful joints, which get worse as we get older. Osteoporosis affects the bone structure of a person and makes it weak. When we’re young, the body absorbs calcium more efficiently. But as the body ages, calcium reserves are depleted and this makes the bones fragile.
Bones get stronger and denser only up to age 25. After 35, they grow weaker. Osteoporosis is a silent killer because it goes undetected until a person suffers from a fracture.
You have a petite body size.
You live a sedentary lifestyle.
You’re a heavy smoker.
You drink excessively.
You take drugs that interfere with calcium metabolism.
You’re on high doses of thyroid preparations, diuretics.
You are lactose intolerant.
Dairy-free calcium: While milk is essential in increasing calcium intake, there are alternatives to good bone health. Bottled mineral water is a good source of calcium. Also, drinking a glass of carrot and spinach juice is good for the bones. Pulses such as rajma, chana, and black dal have a high calcium content along with sesame seeds. Soya milk a day will not only provide you with adequate calcium, but also isoflavones.
Calcium intake after menopause: The recommended dose for post-menopausal women not taking oestrogen is 1500 mg a day. But calcium tablets alone aren’t absorbed; you need to take calcium supplements.
Exercise: Physical activities such as running help prevent bone loss. Training with weights, too, makes your bones stronger. Couple exercise with a proper diet.
Increase the intake of soya. Roasted soya nuts can also be an ideal and nutritious snack.
Restrict or avoid alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, refined sugar and excessive salt. Scientific evidence links intake of these elements, with lower bone mass.
Avoid red meat, eggs and excessive animal protein.
Decrease the consumption of soft drinks.
Consume more green vegetables, especially leafy ones such as lettuce, spinach, and mint.
Magnesium supplements reduce bone loss and increase density. Boron reduces urinary excretion of calcium and magnesium, and increases the serum concentration of oestrogen and testosterone.
Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and founder of Health Total, a nutrition counselling centre.