7 Essential Nutrients for Bone and Joint Health
Our mobility and strength are directly dependent on the health of our bones and joints. However, most of us do not give appropriate attention to our bone health. We must remember that the level of calcium and other essential minerals in our bones goes down as we age. This results in a reduction of our bone density making our bones thinner and weaker. Poor bone health leads to conditions like rickets, osteoporosis, and other problems.
Dr Vijay Kumar Sohanlal, a highly experienced orthopaedic surgeon, informs us about the nutrients required to keep our bones and joints strong. As a senior specialist in joint replacement and orthopaedics at MGM healthcare and Mahi Clinic – Chennai, he has rich experience in treating patients with bone and joint problems. He says that a good diet and exercise are important building blocks for strong bones and joints. Some of the nutrients that must be included in our diet are mentioned below.
This is probably, the most publicised nutrient for bone health. Apart from keeping our bones strong, it plays an important role in muscle control and blood circulation. We must ensure that an appropriate dosage of calcium is included in our diet as it’s not produced by our bodies. Since calcium gets removed from the bones over time, lack of calcium in our diet results in weak bones. This may lead to certain medical conditions including osteoporosis.
Foods that contain calcium are leafy green vegetables (spinach, bok-choy, broccoli, green peas, drumsticks, okra/lady’s fingers), seeds (poppy, chia, sesame), beans and lentils, almonds, dried figs, and dairy products.
Vitamin D plays an important role in the effective absorption of calcium by our body. It’s also known to be beneficial in preventing chronic diseases in old age. Vitamin D can be naturally produced by our body through exposure to sunlight. There are food sources of vitamin D as well. It can be found in fatty fish like salmon and milk fortified with vitamin D.
Phosphorus, along with calcium, is helpful in building bones. The right quantity of both minerals is required for healthy bones and joints. It’s equally important not to have an abnormally high level of phosphorus in the body. This can cause joint and muscle pain and weakness. Our kidney removes any excess phosphorus and maintains a balanced level. Some of the sources of phosphorus are milk, chocolate, yoghurt, eggs.
Vitamin C is another essential nutrient required by our body for bone and joint health. It’s known to influence the production of collagen. Collagen works as a scaffolding that provides strength to our bones and muscles. Vitamin C also removes free radicals, which are not good for bone health.
Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, peppers, strawberries, broccoli, potatoes, mangoes.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Studies have shown that an appropriate level of Omega-3 fatty acids in our diet has a positive effect on bone health. Reduction of inflammation is also seen by including omega-3 in the diet. Patients suffering from inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and swelling in the joints benefit from the consumption of omega-3.
The fatty acids are found in fatty fish (mackerel, salmon, catfish, trout, cod), flaxseeds, walnut, chia seeds, soybeans.
A good level of magnesium in our system improves bone mineral density. Improvement in bone mineral density reduces the risk of fracture and other medical conditions like osteoporosis. The mineral is found in nuts, seeds like flax & chia, avocados, legumes, whole grains, wheat and oat bran. Dark chocolates are also good sources of magnesium.
Intake of an adequate amount of vitamin K is essential for bone health. Studies have shown its role in improving bone mineral density and reducing the risk of fractures. The mineral plays an important role in making proteins required for bone formation. Vitamin K can be found in foods like green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, fish, meat, eggs.
While these nutrients may be present in your diet, it’s worth consulting your doctor to make sure you’re consuming the right dosage. These nutrients go a long way in keeping your bones healthy and strong.