one in four women in Asia suffer from osteoporosis. A study published this year in the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism says, “In 2013, sources estimate that 50 million people in India are either osteoporotic or... have low bone mass...” It further cites a study in Delhi which shows that osteoporosis is prevalent among 24.6 per cent of men and 42.5 per cent of women above 50 years of age. Needless to say, women need to be extra careful about their bone health. Doctors say that for women, deterioration in bone health can start from the early 30s. In other words, bones can become more and more fragile after in your 30s. So, doctors stress, the need for taking care of your bones right from an early age cannot be overemphasised.
Check these calcium-rich foods that can fight diseases such as osteoporosis:
Nuts: They are a marvellous source of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus. You can particularly bank on almonds and pistachios for bone health.
Dates: They contain calcium, manganese, copper and magnesium that are good for bone health and can help in preventing osteoporosis.
Fruits: Particularly oranges, guavas and strawberries and other varieties that are rich in vitamin C, contribute to strong bones.
Vegetables: Apart from the leafy ones, incorporate Chinese cabbage, cauliflower, beetroot and okra in your diet for robust bone health.
Eggs: Experts say that up to 6 per cent of Vitamin D intake comes from eggs. And Vitamin D, we all know, can play a crucial role in bone health.
Fortified foods: Instead of dairy products, you can opt for calcium fortified orange juices and soy beverages.
Omega-3 fatty acids: Health experts say that these can prevent bone diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. Flaxseeds are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Here are some forms of exercise that can ensure excellent bone health:
Tai Chi This Chinese martial art form is not only good for defence tactics, but also for bone health. In fact, there are studies that show that tai chi can slow down bone loss in women after menopause. So if you haven’t learnt the art yet, go for it.
Brisk walking This has myriad benefits. Add to those the benefit of making your bones strong. Experts say that this is a great weight-bearing exercise. In fact, a study shows that walking can reduce the risk of hip fractures by around 30 per cent. So start walking right away!
Lifting weights Regular weight lifting sessions helps increase bone density, which in turn helps reduce risk of fractures and osteoporosis. This is especially beneficial for postmenopausal women. According to a study conducted by the McMaster University, USA, one year of resistance training by postmenopausal women, increased their spinal bone mass by nine per cent.
Dancing Experts say that this is another useful weight-bearing exercise that can keep your bones in good shape, So, don’t worry, even if you have two left feet! Learn salsa, kathak or tango, dancing will surely make your bones healthy and strong.
Yoga Experts say that yoga is another great way of maintaining bone health. But the catch is, you need to learn the proper asanas from a proper trainer. “Don’t try asanas on your own. A proper yoga trainer will first check your physical conditions and will prescribe the apt asanas for you bone health only after a thorough check-up,” says Dr Roy.
Avoid smoking and drinking Doctors warn that heavy drinking and smoking can actually take a toll on your bone health. You should avoid these at all costs if you have debilitating bone disorders. Several studies have pointed out smoking can be a veritable risk factor for osteoporosis and bone fracture. In fact, experts says that smokers who get bone fractures take a longer time to recuperate than non-smokers who suffer fractures. Research shows there’s significant bone loss due to smoking in older people. What’s more alarming is that, experts say, passive smoking in young age may raise the risk of developing low bone mass.
Avoid smoking and drinking Similarly, experts warn against alcohol addiction. Heavy drinking can decrease bone density and raise osteoporosis risk, according to experts.