If you want to build stronger bones, you need three key elements: Calcium, Protein & Vitamin D. Bones are largely made up of a Protein — Collagen — bound together by calcium and other trace minerals).
Calcium is a mineral that people need to build and maintain strong bones and teeth. It is also very important for other physical functions, such as muscle control and blood circulation. Calcium is not made in the body — it must be absorbed from the foods we eat. To effectively absorb calcium from food, our bodies need Vitamin D.
If we do not have enough calcium in our diets to keep our bodies functioning, calcium is removed from where it is stored in our bones. Over time, this causes our bones to grow weaker and may lead to osteomalacia — a disorder in which bones become very painful and break easily.
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Bones: Bones are living active tissues that support the body structurally, allow us to move and protects the vital organs.
Joints: Two or more bones meet and form the joints that allow the bone to move.
Some bones and joints diseases: Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, bursitis, gout are some most common bones & joints diseases caused by lack of proper nutrition to the bones.
Why health of bones and joints is important?
It is very important to keep your joints and bones healthy. Your overall strength, ability and flexibility depend on your bones as well as the joints. Healthy bones and joints are necessary as our bones are responsible for many of our body’s basic functions including organ protection, movement, support for the body and storage of minerals etc. Not looking after your bones can affect the health of the bones and joints and ultimately it will affect your quality of life and cause severe pain and permanent disability.
Bones & Joints specific recommendations
Proper nutrition is required to maintain healthy bones and joints. Nutrition can keep your bones healthy and healthy bones keep the joints healthy. A healthy diet is required to maintain a healthy weight as overweight adds stress to joints and bones.
Common nutrition necessary to keep your bones healthy are:
Calcium: Calcium is the most abundant and vital mineral in the human body. It is vital for the health of bones and joints. 99% of the calcium of the body resides in the bones and joints. It gives strength to the bones.
Recommended daily calcium intake: Adult: 1000 mg/day Women above 50 and men above 70 years: 1200 mg/day Children: 1300 mg/day
Calcium-rich food: Milk, cheese yoghurt, sardines & canned salmon, beans & lentils, almonds, whey protein, leafy greens.
Omega 3 fatty acids: It is a type of polyunsaturated fatty acids. It plays a vital role in maintaining brain functions. Omega 3 fatty acid is essential for the bones because it has some anti-inflammatory properties that are important for treating joint inflammation such as arthritis.
Food rich in omega 3 fatty acids: Soybeans, walnuts, salmon, canola oil, chia seeds, sardines, flaxseeds
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and joints as it promotes the absorption of calcium into the bones. The body absorbs calcium through calcium channels and the function of vitamin D is to stimulate these calcium channels.
Food rich in Vitamin D: fatty fish, egg yolks
Vitamin K: Vitamin K is responsible for the correct mineralisation of bones. Less vitamin K in the bones lead to low bone density and bone fracture.
Food rich in Vitamin K: Green leafy veggies like spinach, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens Brussels sprout, broccoli etc
Protein: Protein-rich diet is necessary to gain the proper bone mass.
Protein-rich food: poultry and fish, Lean red meat, poultry and fish, as well as eggs and dairy foods are excellent sources of animal protein. Dairy products are also rich in calcium.
Mineral like Magnesium & Zinc are essential for the bone mineralization.
Tips for maintaining healthy bones and joints
In the case of calcium deficiency in the body, calcium is removed from the bones where it is stored. This causes weaker bones and may lead to osteomalacia (painful and weak bones).