The word “osteoporosis” means porous bones. When this occurs, the bones become so weak and brittle that even mild stresses like bending over to pick up a wallet, pushing a grocery cart in a food mall, or coughing, can cause a fracture.

Our bone strength is related to its mass or density due to minerals like calcium, phosphorus etc present in it. In osteoporosis, bone strength decreases as calcium, phosphorus and other minerals get depleted. Bone strength depends on an adequate supply of dietary calcium. Estrogen plays an important role in bone health by promoting bone growth.

Risk factors:

– Sex – fractures from osteoporosis are more common in women than in men.
– Age – the older the individual, the higher the risk for osteoporosis.
– Family history – having a close female relative with osteoporosis may increase ones risk.
– Small body frame – generally, the smaller the body frame, the thinner the bone.
– Lifestyle – smoking, consumption of too much caffeine and alcohol, a sedentary lifestyle all      contribute to bone loss.
– Early menopause
– Calcium deficiency
– Estrogen deficiency, which occurs at menopause, accelerates bone loss
– Certain medications like corticosteroids, drugs for asthma, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis; too much   thyroid hormone can cause bone loss


– Ideally, calcium supplementation should be done during adolescence…a time when it is needed for  bone development.
– Beans contain phytates which prevent calcium absorption…so always soak beans for 6-8 hours in  water, wash them well and then cook them.
– Opt for weight bearing physical activity or load bearing exercises which will strengthen your bones.
– Estrogen replacement therapy if opted for, should be monitored by the physician because of the  breast cancer and uterine cancer risks involved.
– Limit your sugar intake because sugar inhibits the absorption of calcium and depletes the levels of  phosphorus ( a mineral needed to absorb calcium)
– Reduce your sodium intake because excess salt can cause excessive calcium excretion through the  kidneys.
– Avoid caffeinated beverages because they leach out calcium from the bones and sap them of their  strength.
– Eat adequate amounts of calcium and its osteoporosis- fighting partner vitamin D3, which are  important for building bone mass in younger years and for delaying bone loss in later years
– Avoid drinking colas because they contain phosphoric acid which prevents calcium absorption.
– Do bone- building exercises like walking, jogging, stair climbing etc

Sources of dietary calcium:

1 cup plain dahi – 400 mg
1 cup milk – 300 mg
30 gms Swiss cheese – 270 mg
30 gms cheddar cheese – 205 mg
30 gms Mozzarella – 185 mg
100 gms paneer – 155 mg
75 gms tofu – 130 mg
90 gms salmon – 205 mg
100 gms sardines – 185 mg
100 gms papaya – 75 mg
100 gms orange – 50 mg
30 gms almonds – 75 mg
Stay blessed with good health….always !!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza


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