New Delhi, Dec 09 (Ajit Weekly Newslife) The various activities we engage in throughout the day, whether it’s walking, running, sitting, dancing, or climbing stairs, place demands on our bones and joints. Winter, in particular, can pose challenges to their health, especially for individuals dealing with conditions like arthritis.
It becomes crucial to prioritize the well-being of our bones and joints during this season. Vitamin D levels often decline in winter due to reduced natural sunlight exposure. Given the significance of Vitamin D in maintaining bone health, its diminished absorption from dietary sources during this period can contribute to the potential deterioration of bones and joints. It underscores the importance of proactive measures to support bone and joint health, particularly in the winter months.
Nutrient-Rich Foods for Robust Bone Health
The constant cycle of bone regeneration, with new ones forming and old ones breaking down, is a dynamic process in the body. During youth, this turnover is accelerated due to higher bone mass. However, as one ages, if proper maintenance of bone mass is neglected, it can lead to conditions such as osteoporosis. To fortify and sustain bone health, incorporating the following nutrient-rich foods into your diet is essential:
Milk & dairy products
Dairy products are rich in nutrients that are essential for good bone health, including calcium, protein, vitamin D, potassium, and phosphorus. Sustaining optimal calcium levels in the body is crucial, and a recommended approach is the consumption of fortified foods rich in vitamin –D is the key. At least three glasses of milk, especially if it serves as the primary calcium source. For those who find plain milk unappealing, incorporating it into smoothies or adding flavors can be a palatable alternative.
Spinach emerges as a nutritional powerhouse, boasting a diverse array of essential nutrients, including calcium, iron, vitamins, and various minerals. When crafting your weekly nutrition plan, incorporating spinach into at least one daily meal proves beneficial. The versatility of spinach opens avenues for diverse culinary creations. From crafting nourishing spinach soup and flavorful vegetables to wholesome sandwiches and even incorporating it into paranthas, there are numerous delectable ways to make this nutrient-rich green a staple in your diet.
Nuts & Seeds
Opt for nutrient-packed alternatives when reaching for snacks during your free time. Ditch the junk and embrace the health benefits of seeds and nuts. Some of the highest calcium in seeds like sesame seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, lotus seeds, Brazil nut, and pistachio. Other calcium rich nuts are almonds; walnut, pecan and chestnut contribute to preventing osteoporosis. Incorporating a handful of these nuts into your regular diet not only satisfies your snack cravings but also provides essential nutrients that support bone health.
Elevate your bone health by incorporating a variety of green vegetables into your diet. Collard greens, okra, beetroot greens, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens, and turnip greens stand out as excellent choices. These seasonal veggies not only cater to your calcium needs but also contribute to maintaining bone strength. A notable advantage is that, unlike spinach, these greensare rich in absorbable calcium. This distinction enhances their effectiveness in supporting bone health.
Beans and Lentils
Achieving a balanced and healthful diet involves incorporating a mix of lentils, beans, and whole grains into your daily meals. Beyond promoting bone health, this combination provides a wealth of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and a diverse array of nutrients essential for overall well-being. Moreover, the inclusion of legumes and whole grains contributes to maintaining heart health, highlighting the comprehensive benefits of this nutrient-rich combination in fostering a robust and thriving body.
Soybeans, renowned for being a valuable protein source for vegetarians, also play a noteworthy role in promoting bone strength—an aspect often overlooked. Beyond incorporating soybeans, diversify your diet with other soy-rich products tailored to your taste preferences. Options such as soy drinks, soy milk, and tofu present versatile and delicious ways to introduce the benefits of soy into your meals, contributing not only to protein intake but also enhancing overall bone health.
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)
How to do:
Begin on all fours, ensuring your knees are directly beneath your hips and your hands slightly forward of your shoulders.
Spread your palms wide, and tuck your toes under as you exhale, pushing your knees off the floor.
Lift your sitting bones towards the ceiling, drawing your inner legs upward from the ankles into your groin.
The Downward-Facing Dog pose offers a comprehensive stretch, targeting the shoulders, hamstrings, arches, hands, and calves. Simultaneously, it strengthens and elongates the arms and legs, promoting flexibility and balance.
Benefits: This weight-bearing pose actively engages and strengthens the muscles in the arms and legs, promoting increased bone density. Additionally, the elongation of the spine in the pose contributes to better posture and spinal alignment, fostering overall spinal health.
Setubandhasana or Bridge Pose
How to do:
Lie on your back with your feet hip-distance apart, folded knees, and knees aligned with ankles in a straight line.
Place your palms facing down beside your body. Inhale as you slowly lift your lower back, middle back, and upper back off the floor. Roll your shoulders gently, bringing the chest and chin towards each other without lowering the chin. Support your weight with shoulders, arms, and feet, ensuring both thighs are parallel to each other and the floor.
Maintain easy breathing, holding the posture for one to two minutes, and exhale as you gently release the pose.
Benefits: This pose actively engages and strengthens muscles along the spine, fostering better spinal health and alignment. Serving as a weight-bearing exercise, it stimulates bone-forming cells, particularly in the spine, hips, and thighs, contributing to enhanced bone density.
Utkatasana or Chair Pose
How to do:
Begin by standing upright with your feet slightly apart. Palms facing downwards, extend your hands forward without bending your elbows.
Gradually bend your knees, gently lowering your pelvis as if settling into an imaginary chair.
For added comfort and a better sense of the pose, envision activities like reading a newspaper or typing on a laptop while maintaining a seated position.
Keep your hands parallel to the ground, maintain an upright posture, lengthen your spine, and relax. Ensure your knees stay behind your toes as you gradually descend. Transition into Sukhasana (cross-legged posture) or, if preferred, recline on your back for relaxation.
Benefits: Utkatasana, commonly known as Chair Pose, is a dynamic yoga posture renowned for its potential to enhance balance and structural strength. Additionally, it has been suggested to offer relief for minor conditions such as shoulder stiffness and minor leg and foot deformities.
(Sushma Pattadur (Chief Dietician), Jindal Naturecure Institute)
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Sushma Pattadur/ os/tb
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