Bone health: What nutrients favor it?

Caring for bone health is something that has to be done throughout life. Our daily activity can be done thanks to the correct functioning of our locomotor system, which makes up the bones. Therefore, it is important to prevent the appearance of bone diseases such as osteopenia or osteoporosis, and in this article I will explain how to do it.

bone health

Main bone diseases

The Osteoporosis is defined as a disease characterized by low density bone mineral and deterioration of bone tissue, which leads to increased bone fragility to the point of not being able to withstand normal stresses, with the consequent increased risk of fracture. The Osteopenia is a time before the disease osteoporosis characterized by loss of bone mass at any stage of life state.

These diseases appear above all in adulthood. The consumption of certain types of food in particular is difficult to prevent the occurrence of such a multifactorial disease, but obviously having a balanced, varied and sufficient diet throughout life and a level of physical exercise, adequate, helps the health of the bones.

Bone health in different stages of life

Bone formation occurs during the growth stage and lasts until 16-20 years. When the growth stops, there is an accumulation of bone tissue that lasts until 30 years, is the so-called consolidation phase. The amount of calcium that we can accumulate depends on the amount of calcium in the diet, the level of physical exercise and the amount of lean body mass (musculature). In puberty ensure calcium intakes and a good level of physical exercise, you can get stronger bones and less likely diseases related to their loss.

By 40 years of age, bone density begins to decrease gradually in both sexes, which is inevitable. Bone loss is accentuated in women after menopause, around 50 years. Men lose bones at a slower rate than women of the same age, up to age 70, age at which losses more or less equal.

The osteoporosis in old age observed in men and women. It is due to the loss of muscle tissue, the decrease in the activity of the bone-forming cells, a lower intestinal absorption of calcium, less sunlight for not going out on the street, a loss of the effectiveness of hormones and to sedentary lifestyle or lack of mobility.

Although it is noteworthy that the most important individual determinant of bone mass is physical activity that begins at the time of puberty, remains throughout adolescence and continues throughout life. Lean body mass (LBM) is the body component most closely linked to bone mass.

Some key nutrients for bone health

For the correct health of the bones, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D are essential, since they help the structural and functional development of the bone. Other nutrients such as Agnesium, Vitamin K and Zinc also play essential functions in their formation. A healthy and balanced diet is never based on a few foods, even if we talk about the health of the bones. But if we highlight 5 foods that are source of the mentioned nutrients, these are:

  • Milk or derivatives. In the case of having some intolerance or simply do not want to drink cow’s milk, a good substitute are vegetable drinks such as oatmeal or soya enriched in calcium.
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Egg
  • Fish. If we eat the spines of small blue fish such as sardines or anchovies, these will give us more calcium.
  • Whole grains
  • Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, chard, lettuce (green leaves), turnip leaf (nabiza).

The role of calcium in bone health

Calcium is essential for the development of bone, but it is not the only essential element that takes care of this. As we have just commented, there are more minerals and nutrients related to bone health. The consumption of these nutrients that help maintain bone health is important throughout life, but especially in the period of growth and in adulthood.

The recommended daily intake of calcium varies with age. For adults the recommendation of daily intake is 1000 mg/day . After 50 years, especially in women, the requirements amount to 1300 mg/day (to compensate for bone losses caused by estrogen losses in menopause).

The bioavailability of calcium is greater if it is part of the food, for example, lactose and milk protein help to improve its absorption.

These amounts that are recommended in adulthood, for example, are achieved with a varied and balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruits (5 servings, which will provide us with calcium) and adding 2 servings of milk, for example: 1 glass of milk or vegetable drink enriched in calcium and two yogurts. If you do not take dairy products or derivatives, you can get calcium from other sources such as nuts, seeds such as sesame seeds, tofu set with calcium salts, vegetables rich in calcium (broccoli, cabbage, kale, leaves of Berza, chard, leeks), legumes, whole grains … etc.