Like other cells of the body, the bone cells follow a regular growth pattern, gradually dying as it completes its growth and development cycle. Bone cell destruction is a natural part of our lives. The rate of destruction of bone cells is slowest during childhood, when the bones are growing both in size and in length.
During adolescence, although the increase in the size of the bone cells slows down, but the new bone cells continue to develop adding mass to the bone. When we are in our 20s, the bone density becomes somewhat static. After the age of 35, the rate of destruction of the bone cells increases gradually, the pace of destruction gaining momentum after menopause. This loss of bone density with age is known as osteoporosis. Both men and women can suffer from osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis makes the bones fragile. It increases the risk of bone fracture. Hips, spine and wrist are most susceptible to fractures. The normal curvature of the body is lost. Compared to men, women are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis. Nearly one out of every two women suffers from osteoporosis after 50 years of age. Fall in the estrogen level, following menopause, increases loss in bone density. In men, low testosterone level increases the risk of osteoporosis.
It has been observed that the severity of osteoporosis could be arrested through proper diet. It is never too early to start your osteoporosis diet.
Calcium and vitamin D are the most important nutrients needed for encouraging development of bone cells. For healthy bones, we need 1000 to 1200mg of calcium every day. Milk, dairy products and leafy green vegetables are rich sources of calcium. Consumption of eight ounces of low fat milk would give enough calcium to adults up to the age of 50. After 50, you need half glass more milk. Vitamin D found in sunlight, egg yolks, liver and fish, is necessary to prevent osteoporosis. Up to the age of 50, 200 IU of vitamin D is sufficient for maintaining normal bone density. After 50, vitamin D requirement increases gradually. After 70, to prevent osteoporosis, one needs around 600 IU of vitamin D. To retain the calcium in your body, increase consumption of potassium rich foods, such as bananas, orange and tomatoes.
Foods to be avoided
By increasing calcium excretion through urine, salt, caffeine and soda can aggravate osteoporosis.