Adequate and healthy diet plays a crucial role in strengthening the human skeletal system. India is home to over 190 million undernourished people, while only next to China in number of obese people. This state of diet and nutrition is a perfect scenario for high incidences of osteoporosis. With World Osteoporosis Day on October 20, a much-needed focus and attention is required to inform the masses about the disease and its prevention. Osteoporosis, which means porous bones, is a disease that, at times, is confused with osteoarthritis. The two are very different. Osteoarthritis is caused by the degeneration of joint, while the Osteoporosis is known, also known as the “bone thinning disease”, involves thinning or weakening of bones, making them highly fragile and increasing the vulnerable to multiple fractures. Even the smallest shock to the body caused by a minor fall or sudden movement can cause a serious fracture. Being a silent disease, it does not readily show any symptoms. It’s highly possible that people might not be aware of being affected by the disease until they suffer a painful fracture. The weakening of bones is gradual, as bone mass density begins decreasing from the age of 35 years. Women are more at risk of osteoporosis, as the bone mass in their body decreases at a faster rate than in men. Around the world, it’s estimated that one in three women compared to one in five men older than 50 years suffer from an osteoporotic fracture.
In women, the reduced estrogen hormone levels after menopause make it tougher for the body to generate more bone. Today, modern lifestyle has increased inactivity. Excessive alcohol and tobacco consumption is another major risk factor. Apart from this, a major contributory factor includes unhealthy dietary practices, which also includes eating disorders such as anorexia and consumption of food deficient in important nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium and Vitamin D. Osteoporosis can be prevented or at least its onset can be delayed by managing the avoidable risk factors. The following considerations will help prevent the disease: Diet management Especially, for osteoporosis, a diet rich in calcium, protein, magnesium and vitamin D is vital. Include calcium-rich food in your diet (Calcium strengthens bone)
- Non-fat milk, yoghurt, broccoli, cauliflower, certain fish such as salmon, green leafy vegetables and almonds are all good sources of calcium.
- Protein-rich foods like lentils, kidney beans, grains, nuts, and seeds help the body to keep the muscles healthy. Healthy muscles support the bones.
- Consumption of tobacco and alcohol should be reduced as much as possible. Red meat and caffeine intake should also be reduced.
- Calcium supplements should be taken as prescribed by your doctor.