Our bones go through a process of breakdown and repair during our life. Calcium, a mineral found in abundance in the human body, is one of the vital nutrients that plays a key role in building and maintaining bone health. 

Most of the bone growth and density occurs during childhood and thus it is important to get enough calcium during the early years to build strong bones. But getting enough calcium is important for adults too as bones are more prone to becoming brittle, breaking down and fracturing in the later years. When the body does not get the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of calcium it results in calcium deficiency and can lead to weakened, porous bones or osteoporosis or osteopenia. 

Apart from calcium deficiency, there are other factors, such as vitamin d deficiency, less physical activity, smoking & alcohol etc. that can also result in weakened bones. Here are X tips to help you keep your bones strong. 

  • Consume dairy products daily

Dairy products such as milk, yogurts, cheese, and tofu are the best source of calcium and must be included in your daily diet. Make sure you get your daily glass of milk! 

  • Eat leafy vegetables and beans 

Leafy, green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, avocado, okra (lady’s finger), and kale while being low on calories are quite high on calcium. Also, include beans such as flat beans, white beans and soybeans in your diet for a calcium boost. 

  • Fish are good for bone health 

Fishes such as sardines, salmon, rainbow trout and perch are a very good source of calcium. Including fish in your meals will ensure you fulfill the RDA for calcium and make your bones strong. 

  • Seeds & dry fruits are rich in calcium 

Sesame seeds are also a rich source of calcium. Make sure you use them in some form or other in your daily diet. Also, dry fruits such as apricots, raisins, plums, dried pears and almonds are packed with calcium. Eating them as snacks will be a healthy, nutritious option to strengthen your bones. 

  • Quit smoking 

Tobacco consumption and loss of bone mineral density are closely associated. So, if you are a smoker the chances are that you may have faster bone loss and a higher risk of bone fractures than non-smokers. It is best to quit smoking! 

  • Consume less caffeine, aerated drinks and reduce alcohol intake

Alcohol, caffeine and carbonated drinks reduce the ability of your body to absorb calcium and can contribute to bone loss. They should ideally be avoided or at least consumed in moderation. 

  • Stay active 

Get at least 150 minutes of physical activity every week to maintain bone health. Weight-bearing exercises such as running, walking, hiking, dancing, low-intensity aerobics, climbing stairs etc. are good workouts to improve bone health. Yoga and tai chi helps improve balance and coordination reducing the risk of falling and breaking bones. 

  • Start with strength training exercises 

People who suffer from knee or hip arthritis (lower extremity joint deficiencies) can have problems doing weight-bearing exercises. Doing strength training exercises or weight lifting with more repetitions can result in improved bone density and decrease the risk of bone fractures. But always consult your doctor and a certified fitness expert before commencing any physical training. 

  • Get enough Vitamin D & other nutrients 

Vitamin D and calcium have a strong connection. Vitamin D (found in fish, milk, supplements or sunlight), helps absorb calcium and is the crucial constituent that protects bones, supports muscle function and prevents bone degeneration. Along with vitamin D, Potassium, vitamin K and magnesium also help in calcium absorption. 

  • Get a bone density test 

The calcium test is generally conducted as part of a regular health exam. A bone density test is a specific and only test that can diagnose if you have osteoporosis before any bone breakage. It is generally recommended that post-menopausal women or men over the age of 50 should get this test done. 

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