Beyond the age of 30, the breakdown of bones is more than the bone mass you gain. Gender, race, and hormones are risk factors that affect bone health and cannot be changed. While a harsh weight loss program for women can lead to bone loss, insufficient nutrition in pregnancy - when calcium needs increase, can also lead to maternal bone loss. Hence, speaking to a pregnancy nutritionist can help in maintaining good bone health in women.

Similarly, women approaching menopause also experience bone loss. This is because estrogen, the woman hormone that helps in maintaining bone mass decreases.

Here are 5 tips that can help boost your bone strength:
1. Eat well: Since calcium is the single primary compound that provides bones their stiffness, it is crucial to take all calcium-rich foods daily like low fat milk and milk products, ragi or nachni, green leafy vegetables, small fish eaten with bones like sardines, nuts, and oilseeds.

2. Get enough vitamin D: Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and transports it to the bones. Unfortunately, there not many sources of this vitamin. Our bodies can produce vitamin D on their own by exposing our skin to sunlight for 15 to 20 minutes each day. However, that can be insufficient too. Thus, a supplement under a doctor’s guidance may be needed.

3. Exercise daily: Exercising daily helps to build better bones. Weight bearing exercises like walking, running, aerobics and stair climbing and strength training have shown to improve the bone density and strength.

4. Avoid extreme diets: Losing weight moderately does not affect bone health if exercise training is simultaneously involved. A high protein diet which includes low fat dairy and dairy products can help in losing weight without bone loss. However, rapid weight loss can lead to porous bones which become brittle. This means a simple fall or bump can lead to a fracture. Hence, it is prudent to not aim for extreme thinness and concentrate on gradual weight loss with a healthy diet plan.

5. Avoid smoking: Smoking reduces the supply of blood to the bones. Nicotine, slows the production of osteoblasts, the bone producing cells. It also reduces the body's absorption of calcium, with lowered bone mineral density.

The bottom line is - try and get more bone in your account by the time you hit age 30 which is when the body starts to lose bone mass. Damage to bone health can be irreversible. Also, a qualified pregnancy nutritionist can help in getting trimester wise appropriate diet. And finally, a weight loss program for women should not exclude food groups especially dairy as this can lead to bone loss and thus weaker bones.

Author's Bio: 

Arati has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition as well as a post-graduation in Sports Sciences and Nutrition from Mumbai’s premier university – S.N.D.T. at Juhu. She also has a Fellowship in Clinical Nutrition. She has worked for 4 years at India’s pioneering sports sciences institute – Gopikrishna Piramal Memorial Hospital. Post that she was a consultant for 10 years before establishing Café Nutrition.

Pregnancy Nutritionist