Osteoporosis is a bone disease in which there is a reduction in bone density, which make the bones easily breakable. Low bone mass and tissue deterioration affect the bone structure, which reduces the strength of the bones leading to repeated fractures.
1-2 women and 1-4 men over the age of 50 will experience Osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime. Women have smaller, lighter bones which makes them prone to osteoporosis.
It is a known fact that calcium plays an integral role in the overall health, especially for bones, and is said to be the building block for the bones.
Bones that commonly break due to osteoporosis include the vertebrae in the spine, bones of the forearm, and the hip. For most women, osteoporosis is inevitable, and getting enough calcium in the diet is the first place to start.
Preventing osteoporosis involves two aspects, making your bones stronger, and restricting bone loss during adulthood. By following these essential steps, one may prevent developing osteoporosis:
- Adequate consumption of calcium to aid in bone development: 1000mg daily for individuals aged 19 to 50, 1200mg daily for individuals over the age of 50, and 1500mg for pregnant and lactating mothers
- Regulating exercises in strength training and muscle gain
Recommended Dietary allowance for Calcium is as follows:
|Age group||Recommended calcium intake|
Pregnant and Lactating women
|Infant (0-12 months)||500mg/day|
|Children (1-9 years)||600mg/day|
|Boys and girls (10-17 years)||800mg/day|
Tips to increase your calcium intake:
- Milk is a commonly available and absorbable form of elemental calcium.
- Milk products like curd, paneer, buttermilk, cheese, must be included in adequate amounts to fulfil daily calcium needs.
- Sesame seeds (White til) is also one of the sources of calcium. Til chikki and laddoo can be included in the diet to ensure adequate intake of calcium. Also, Til can be added in mouth freshener.
- Ragi is also a well-known source of calcium, but it also has fibre which makes its calcium unavailable for absorption. Hence, one should not be dependent only on ragi for adequate calcium intake.
- Calcium is sensitive for its absorption in our body. Calcium-rich food should never be eaten along with foods that are iron or fibre-rich, or compounds like Phytates and Oxalates. Tannin in tea and caffeine in coffee also destroy calcium.
- We must ensure a good intake of Vitamin-C to ensure the best availability of calcium to our body. Citrus fruits like orange, sweet lime, lemons, and fruits like amla and guava are good sources of vitamin C.
- Exposure to sunlight is equally essential to get an adequate amount of vitamin-D.
- Calcium also requires fat for its absorption in our body, and hence adequate amounts of fats to be included in your diet. Adding a spoonful of ghee in our major meals like lunch and dinner is beneficial.
- Til (sesame) chikki, white Til laddoo, milkshake, buttermilk, lassi, Paneer halwa, Paneer pulao, Shrikhand, Basundi, ice-cream are good sources of calcium.
- Including two glasses (200-225ml approx.) of cow’s milk every day fulfils adequate calcium intake among children between 1-9 years of age, whereas consuming two glasses of milk (300ml approx.), two cups of curd or buttermilk (100gm approx.) provides over half the amount of required calcium in diet for pregnant women.
Calcium supplements are recommended if the diet is a deficit in calcium. For instance, in case lactose intolerance, where patients cannot digest milk and its products, and hence calcium requirements can’t be met only through diet.
Calcium supplements are also prescribed to patients those are prone for osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and especially post-menopausal women, to fulfil the deficit of calcium in combination with calcium-rich diet.