Calcium-rich foods aren’t the only way to beat osteoporosis and build your bones. By Dawn Chen
Beat osteoporosis and build your bones with calcium-rich foods. Photo: 123RF.com/Natalia Merzlyakova
While osteoporosis is a condition than plagues both men and women, women are more prone to the condition as we have thinner and smaller bones than our male counterparts. Moreover, post-menopause, a woman can lose up to 20 per cent of her bone mass in just five to seven years. “This is because of the decline in oestrogen – a female hormone that protects bones – decreases sharply post-menopause, increasing a woman’s risk of the condition, explains Joanne Todd, a nutritionist and mobility advocate from Fonterra.
1. Eating junk food hurts your bones
Instant meals and take-out foods are often high in sodium and caffeine. Consuming them often can damage your bones over time. Joanne explains: “Consuming too much sodium can cause bone loss, while caffeine in coffee, tea and certain soft drinks may decrease calcium absorption.”
2. Instead, eat calcium-rich foods and beverages
Milk and cheese are both good sources of calcium and are important in building strong and dense bones,” says Joanne. For the lactose intolerant, fortified milk substitutes, soft, edible fish bones (like sardines), green leafy vegetables, white beans, edamame, tofu, kale and almonds are good options as they’re all calcium-rich foods.
3. Get enough vitamin D
Getting enough vitamin D also improves our body’s ability to absorb calcium. “Sunlight is a good source of this vitamin and we urge everyone to get the optimal daily dose of vitamin D through safe exposure from sunlight,” says Joanne. If that’s not possible, dietary sources of vitamin D become more important. Vitamin D-rich foods include items such as fortified milks, eggs or oily fish.
4. Consider building up lactose tolerance
“People with lactose intolerance may not need to completely avoid milk products,” says Joanne. “Start by consuming milk such as Anlene with a meal rather than on an empty stomach, or taking smaller amounts of milk throughout the day. This might help to reduce any side effects that may result from lactose intolerance. Over time these symptoms may reduce or disappear as tolerance builds. If concerned however, you should seek advice from your doctor.”
For more information on Anlene and their ongoing promotions, visit www.anlene.com.sg.