Contrary to our beliefs, bones are not an ‘inert’ matter. Bones contain cells, blood vessels, nerve fibers, and their resistance depends on a good balance between osteoblasts (bone-building cells) and osteoclasts (which destroy the bones).
The bones system consists of 206 bones and their filling, which consists of cartilage. The cartilage is a resilient and flexible material and represents the most important bone addition, especially where resilience and elasticity is needed. The bone is alive, its cells are replaced continuously. To maintain bone health, we need to consume adequate amounts of protein, calcium and vitamins, vitamin D being the first on the list. Stay close and keep reading to find the secret to strong bones found in some very healthy foods and meals.
Bones’ system conditions
The most common bone disease, at any age, is the bone fracture but also bone cartilage injuries.
Bone infection or the development of tumors are quite rare.
Among the most important symptoms of bone disease, there are:
- pain in the affected area
- inflammation (reddening and warming above normal temperature)
- impairment of functionality
The secret to strong bones
We can keep at distance the bone diseases through eating and having a healthy lifestyle but also through nutritional supplements especially design to fortify bones structure (most commonly based on Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, and Vitamin D).
Calcium is a mineral of fundamental importance in the metabolism of bones. The bones appear to contain 99% of the total calcium in the body, but also 85% of the phosphorus, and 50% of the sodium and magnesium.
Calcium is brought into the body through the diet or through nutritional supplements but it is absorbed in the presence of vitamins and minerals, mainly in the presence of vitamin D, vitamin A, and magnesium, and in order to be retained in the bones Calcium needs an adequate level of vitamin K and vitamin B6.
Fortunately, at the moment, the market offer is wide, so you have from where to choose.
It is important that when you buy a product or nutritional supplement for bones’ health to also consult the product label for nutritional information (especially for Calcium and Vitamin D concentrations).
So you can find out, for example, that some cereal types can give you, on average, half of the calcium requirements of a whole day. So, if you eat a fortified bowl of cereals, milk or yogurt, and a large glass of oranges juice, you have provided your body with the needed values of Calcium and essential nutrients until noon.
Here are some healthy breakfast foods you can mix:
- 1 whole grain bowl will provide between 100-1000 mg of Calcium, depending on the type you prefer
- Soy milk – 250 ml has between 80-500 mg of Calcium
- Milk – 1 glass has 300 mg of Calcium
- Yogurt – 1 box has between 300-400 mg of Calcium
- Oranges juice – 1 glass has 200-340 mg of Calcium
Even if you are lactose intolerant and you can not digest dairy products, you should not be deprived of the benefits of dairy products because there is a wide range of lactose-free milk products, specially made to meet the needs of patients with lactose intolerance.
If the grains do not appeal to you, or if you prefer to split your Calcium consumption throughout the day to facilitate its absorption, try adding foods which are rich in this mineral during snacks breaks, lunch, or evening.
You can try: scrambled eggs with cheese, steamed vegetables, and salmon.
Or combine fried eggs with cheese, broccoli, and sardines for a minerals-rich lunch.
If you can not get rid of steaks and soups, try to cook them with fish, turnips, and green vegetables.
And be sure to eat fish bones (but only if they are properly prepared) because as our bones store Calcium, so are the fish bones (especially salmon and sardines).
At noon, dinner or snacks, try to your liking:
- Sardines – 200 grams of product have 320 mg of Calcium
- 100 grams of cheese has between 200-270 mg Calcium (depending on the assortment)
- Canned salmon – 200 grams have 200 mg of Calcium
- Nappy Cooking – 100 grams bring 150 mg of Calcium
- Crude Broccoli have 90 mg of Calcium
- Spinach – 100 grams of boiled spinach have 160 mg of Calcium
- Tofu – 100 grams have 510 mg of Calcium
- 100 gram of white bread has 177 mg of Calcium
- 100 grams of hazelnuts have 92 mg of Calcium
Calcium and Vitamin D
To find out what calcium-rich products are, try a simple but effective trick. On the packaging, nutritional information is actually written based on a standard daily requirement of 100 mg. So, to understand how much Calcium you can get from that product, in one serving, add a zero to the percentage of Calcium on the packaging and turn it into milligrams. For example, if on a grain box you read ‘Calcium 50%’, you can consider that a portion will bring about 500 mg of calcium.
Calcium is not the only nutrient that is needed.
In order for it to be absorbed, you should also consume Vitamin D. Vitamin D is produced by the skin, following the action of ultraviolet rays.
But experts warn us that as we get older, the bones lose the ability to convert all the Vitamin D and will send it back to the body. So, despite the fact that daily Vitamin D need for an adult is 400 International Units (IUs), specialists recommend us to take an extra contribution of Vitamin D, especially if we also have an osteoporosis problem.
It really seems that the really needed doses are in fact between 800-1200 International Units but may be bigger for those who are in non-assorted regions, have darker skin or stay in polluted cities.
In addition to consuming high-vitamin products, specialists recommend that, when possible, spend at least 20-30 minutes in the sun every day to stimulate the endogenous production of this vitamin.
In general, Calcium-rich foods also have high Vitamin D content, and sardines, herring, and salmon are some of them.
But if you need it, you can sometimes take Vitamin D from nutritional supplements available at pharmacies or online. It is more easily absorbed by the body and a once per day pill dose seem to be enough.
Other foods with high vitamin D content are egg yolk, salt water, and liver.
If we want to enrich our Calcium diet, specialists are making a number of additional recommendations:
- Try every day a breakfast as rich in dairy and cereals as possible.
- Instead of having unhealthy snacks grab a yogurt. Also yogurts with fruits are good, even though they might contain sugar. Read the yogurts’ nutritional labels to see if the amount of sugar is normal.
- Combine green vegetables, fresh or steamed, with cheese and pasta.
- Replace sweet desserts of any kind with dehydrated nuts or fruits that are very rich in Calcium.
- Reduce the consumption of caffeine, chocolate, carbonated beverages, and red meat. Red meat should be replaced with fish.
- Eat as many green and raw fruits as possible to add Vitamin C into your body. This is necessary for the synthesis of collagen, another essential component of the bone to be of the highest quality.