Feed your bones the right nutrients

We all know BONE is one of the important organ that provides support and structures to our body parts. But with age Bones density is lost due to various factors? What is this bone density? Bone is made up of important minerals and vitamins which help to maintain bone strength and prevent from its degeneration and to perform various other important metabolic reaction inside our body. Now days bone diseases are common with age and mostly affecting women than men. Eight out ten women suffer from bone diseases like osteoporosis, osteopenia and osteomalacia. After age of 50 it is very essential that we supply more of bone nutrients to prevent fractures.

How to test your bone minerals?

Science and technology is so advanced that we can do a Ultra sound scan named dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan to test if all the bone minerals are in correct values. This test will help us to predict osteoporosis or osteopenia condition if exits. We can avoid future bone fractures by doing this test.

Bone nutrients

The important bone nutrients are calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, Vitamin K and Vitamin C.

Calcium is an essential mineral for building bones. Bones is the main reservoir for calcium. The bone tissues are formed continuously throughout the life but at certain stages the formation may be reduced like adolescents, post menopausal period, certain diseased condition and during low blood calcium levels.

The daily requirements are 600 – 1000mg and it varies for each age group. One cup milk, one cup curd/paneer, one serving of greens or one serving of fish, one serving of nuts daily will help you to meet the daily requirements of calcium. The cheapest and richest source of calcium is Ragi and green leafy vegetables.

Vitamin D

Vitamin plays many important role in the human body like for absorption of calcium, build immune system, bones, teeth and nails. The fish like herring, mackerel, salmon, and sardines, egg yolks, oranges, breakfast, green leafy vegetables, fish liver oils, and fortified foods are another common sources of vitamin D.


Magnesium is one of the important mineral that is required for optimal health and we all must know that sixty Percent of magnesium in the body is present in the bones. Like calcium magnesium also help in building of bones. In a research study it was observed that increased intake of the nutrient has caused a 2% raise in Bone mineral density.

Doctors say that magnesium deficiency cause fragile and brittle bones leading to fractures. The richest sources of magnesium are soyabeans, til, pumpkin seeds, black beans. Children require somewhere between 50 -200mg and adults require 300mg minimum daily and this is met by taking 1 cup brown rice, 2 whole wheat rotis, 15g almonds and 50g soybeans.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K like other minerals help in bone formation, studies show that Vitamin K insufficiency can cause osteoporosis and osteopenia condition got reversed when daily 100g of lettuce were given in the diet. Foods rich in this vitamin are green leady vegetables like spinach, lettuce, cabbage , broccoli and kale, egg yolk and liver.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is essential for many metabolic reactions in the body, it will create a balance in bone formation and bone resorption. Studies show that drugs and antibiotics used to treat osteoporosis will only prevent bone from degeneration but vitamin C will also help in bone formation. Vitamin C rich foods are amla, green chilies, guava, papaya, oranges and strawberries. Daily recommended intake is 40mg that is met by consuming fruits 200g, 100g green leafy vegetables, few chilies in the form of chutneys.

How to protect bones

90% of the adults bone mass is developed by the age of 15 yr – 18yrs. So the right nutrition should started from day 1 when an infant is born.

First six months of life mother’s milk is the richest source of bone nutrients, after six months weaning with foods like formula or cow’s milk, ragi porridge, introducing greens will help bone growth. After one year children should be given balanced healthy foods to meet the daily requirements.

The children should be allowed to play outdoor games minimum of one hour daily.

After age of 40 it is very important that people maintain their Ideal body weight, eat healthy foods and women who suffer from menopausal syndrome require more bone nutrients as hormonal imbalance causes the bone degeneration which leads to osteopenia a condition where bone calcium levels are reduced hence they need estrogen rich foods like soya and its products, vegetables like cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, milk and milk products, whole egg and fish to be consumed according to the daily requirements .

Vegans can take supplements to get the benefits of nutrients that are present in fish and egg like omega 3s and to do a regular physical activity which helps in strengthening bone and to prevent bone diseases.

Kalpana Prasad

The author is a consultant nutritionist and guest lecturer for ISSA

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