Ever since we were born, we keep running, walking, moving, jumping, sitting, standing and keep on doing a horde of other activities which require our body to move, bend, stretch, twist and what not! Ever imagined how we do it?
How we manage to climb down the stairs so fast in order to catch that train or go up the stairs to avoid the ticket collector, equally fast? We do it all, with the help of our bones! The very bones that tend to give us growth pains during our childhood and osteoporosis in our old age.
Bones form the basis of our skeletal system, protect our vital organs and define our body shape and size i.e frame. The bones found in our body are alive just like us; they keep on growing, changing in shape, size as we grow old, in fact our height and weight depends on our bones. We have 206 bones in our body, with the spine being made up of 26 bones alone!
Bones contain bone tissue and marrow, and are made up of calcium, phosphorous, sodium and other such minerals, they are primarily responsible for our movement, production of red and white blood cells, fat storage, and protection of our vital organs and so on. In short bones are one of the most integral parts of the human body.
If bones are alive, do they need food?
Any organism that is alive, needs food for fuel purpose so that it can generate the required energy to perform functions vital for its survival. Food is needed so that we have the energy or efficiency to perform our bodily actions such as walking, sleeping, running, breathing etc. Plus with constant use, these bones gradually degenerate and can become brittle and even break with ease. To maintain healthy and strong bones, it is necessary that we provide proper nutrition to them, following is a list of foods that will help us maintain good healthy and strong bones,
Milk: 99% of the body’s calcium reserves can be found in our bones and teeth and as calcium is an integral part of our bones make-up, we need to provide ample calcium to our bones for them to remain healthy. Since Milk is one of the richest natural sources of calcium i.e one full glass of milk contains about 300 mg of calcium.
Adults need about 1000 mg of calcium per day which roughly translates to around 3 full glasses of milk a day, whereas kids in the age group of 4-19 years need about 800-1300 mg of calcium per day which translates to around 3-4 glasses of milk per day, if they are to develop and maintain healthy bones as adults.
Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, pistachios and walnuts are packed with calcium and vitamin D which two important components when it comes to keeping our bones healthy and strong. Plus these serve as excellent munchies or snacks, as they can be eaten anytime and anywhere. Adults are recommended to consume at least at least 1-2 servings of nuts where 1 serving equals a 1/3rd of a cup, for healthy bones.
However one shouldn’t go over the board with the consumption of nuts and seeds as they also contain a high level of cholesterols which can lead to clogging up of arteries in the long run.
Yogurt and Cheese: Dairy products often come packed with calcium and vitamin D, proteins and other vitamins that are needed by the body for the upkeep of our bones. A full cup of yogurt has almost the same amount of calcium as Milk, however it doesn’t contain as much as vitamin D as milk.
Coming to cheese, not only does it taste good but also comes packed with Calcium, and for those who are lactose intolerant there’s no need to miss out as these days there are plenty of yogurt and cheese varieties available that are lactose free or with a reduced lactose count!
Research has pointed out that removing lactose content from the milk does not affect its calcium content.
Pumpkin and sunflower seeds: Bones don’t just need Calcium for their up keep, in fact too much of calcium can make them brittle and put them at the risk of fractures! It is better to balance calcium out with other elements and vitamins. Pumpkin seeds are one of the richest natural sources of magnesium in fact consuming a 1/4th cup of these seeds daily will mean that you have consumed about 185 mg of magnesium. Similarly sunflower seeds are also rich in magnesium with a mere 100 gms containing about 420 mg of magnesium.
Chewing on these crunchy seeds will not only give you magnesium, it will also give you Vitamin E, B1, iron, calcium and phosphorous. So what are you waiting for, grab those seeds and start crunching!
Salt water Fish: Salt water fish are important, if you want to have good healthy bones. Most fish are known to contain high levels of Vitamin D, which is required by the bones to absorb calcium. The main function of Vitamin D is to control and regulate the absorption and excretion of calcium in our bones, especially when the body calcium level is low. As during low calcium levels, the body borrows calcium from bones and supplies it to the muscles, who need adequate calcium for functioning normally.
In such conditions, having adequate vitamin D helps and salt water fish such as Ravas, Bangda, Pomfret and Bombil contain plenty of Vitamin D. Plus if you don’t fancy any of the bigger fish, eating any smaller along with their bones is beneficial, as their bones will contain calcium!
While these are important food items needed to keep our bones healthy, one should not just rely on them wholly, when it comes to the maintenance and health of our bones. Moderate to heavy exercise should complement our bone friendly diet, if we are to have healthy bones!