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Foods for strong bones

Health Wisdom
Hindustan Times | By Dr Anjali Mukerjee, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JUL 31, 2013 05:32 PM IST

My 10-year-old daughter had healthy milk teeth, but her permanent teeth are not good. What foods do you recommend so that she has healthy teeth and strong bones?
Your daughter’s poor permanent teeth might be a result of poor oral hygiene, unhealthy food choices (excessive intake of sweets, chocolates, soft drinks), or faulty habits like nail biting. Children aged four to 11 years should consume two to three servings of dairy products daily. Give your child strawberry or chocolate milkshake if she is fussy about plain milk. Get her into the habit of consuming curd and two glasses of carrot juice every day. Cheese slices on whole grain bread or whole-wheat khakra serves as a tasty snack. Green moong sprouts mixed with chopped green salad and dressed with grated cheese and curd can be eaten as an after-school snack. Soya biscuits, walnuts, figs, dates and apricots are also good snacks.

My wife is 52 and has arthritis. She doesn’t like dairy products. What other foods can she have to help strengthen her bones?
Milk is not the only solution for healthy bones. You may ask your wife to drink a glass of raw carrot and spinach juice every day. It contains approximately 300 mg of calcium, as opposed to the 240 mg in 200 ml of cow’s milk. Additionally, it is packed with antioxidants, which have a beneficial effect on the skin. Most whole pulses like rajma, kabuli chana, black dal and horse gram (kuleeth), have between 200 to 250 mg of calcium per 100 gm of serving. Eat about 2-3 tablespoons of white and black sesame seeds daily. Other good sources are sardines, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, soy beans, figs, and calcium-fortified foods and cereals. However, while calcium is important to strengthen bones, other nutrients like magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin A are also needed. If your wife has arthritis, she needs to detoxify and boost digestion to improve nutrient absorption.

I have high cholesterol. Please help me improve my diet.
Changing your diet will be beneficial and your cholesterol levels may reduce in as little as one to three months. Eat vegetables, whole grains, nuts and fruits. Consumption of water-soluble fibres can aid in lowering cholesterol; these foods include the fibre in oats, corn, wheat bran, beans and legumes. If you are overweight, try losing weight and including aerobic exercise in your routine.

Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and the founder of Health Total, a nutrition counselling centre.

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