Lately women in the early 30′s are suffering from osteoporosis.The earlier average age was 50 years onwards, around the same time menopause would set in. The reason is with menopause the body experiences a dramatic drops in estrogen production that results in bone loss. This was labeled as a growing old diseases since the two big reasons for developing osteoporosis are when the body fails to form enough new bone or when the old bones are reabsorbed by the body, but not anymore.
Calcium and phosphate are two minerals that are essential for normal bone formation. Throughout youth, your body uses these minerals to produce bones. Mineral intake during adolescence and early adulthood lays the foundation of healthy bones for the coming years. Not getting enough calcium and body not being able to absorb enough calcium from the diet adversely affects the bone production and bone tissues.
Bone is a dynamic living tissue that becomes strong when exercised or used and becomes fragile when unused. Mostly we are advised to eat foods rich in calcium for bone development but equally excluding foods that lead to loss of bone mineral in the body like sugar, sodas, table salt, coffee and alcohol. But are you forgetting nutrients which directly or indirectly benefit the bone health like vitamin D for better absorption of calcium, vitamin K which activates osteocalcin which is a bone protein which bonds calcium, vitamin C which improves bone absorption and other bone minerals like magnesium, phosphorous, boron etc.
Though dairy is the most popular source of calcium but many other nutrients required for prevention and better bone health can be consumed from plant based sources like vegetables and fruits which are rich in various nutrients. Optimum levels of the following nutrients in your diet will improve your bone health as well as overall fitness.
Women are more prone to developing osteoporosis than men due to two reasons first they are genetically born with a lower bone mass than men and secondly estrogen levels. Estrogen plays an important role in keeping bones strong and healthy, in both men and women. Changing levels of estrogen especially in women make them more vulnerable to this disorder.
Foods bad for bone health
Salt: Over consumption of salt than the daily requirement could make you lose calcium. You require 2400 milligram of sodium in a day. Not only you consume sodium through salt in foods but foods naturally contain salt which could create an excess. Eat salt in moderation to avoid loss of calcium.
Soda: Sweetened softdrink and soda drinks cause loss of calcium in the body and has been observed while excreted in urine. The phosphoric acid which is the fizziness in soda drinks could fast loss of calcium.
Caffeine: Caffeine in excess of 100 milligram can cause loss of some calcium in the body. Caffeine is not consumed by the body just through coffee but some iced teas, energy drinks and other drinks contain them.
Alcohol: Alcohol blocks calcium absorption in the body and restricts bone building minerals to be absorbed properly. Bones become weak faster and can cause trouble while healing of bones due to alcohol consumption during fracture.
Some vegetables which immensely improve bone health and maintain them and avoid loss of bone minerals in the body are green peas, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, spinach, asparagus, oats, parsley, lemons, milk and dairy etc. Though milk and dairy are the best sources but these vegetables have various nutrients to support good bone health and prevent osteoporosis. Exercising, the often most forgotten factor, is critical to bone health as it helps in improvement of bone density and better absorption of nutrients.
There are lots of speculations if dates are healthy or not? Calling it healthy or not so healthy depends on whether you should include it in your diet for its health benefits or you can use it as a substitute for sugar incase you are trying to lose weight. Dates are the fruits of the date palm which can be eaten fresh or dried though both the forms are nutritious. It helps in lowering cholesterol and and has anti-oxidation properties that protect the body against free radicals.
Dates are high in fiber which relieves constipation and the high amount of carbohydrates in it provides high calories. The one drawback with dates is that it is high in glycemic index and contains a lot of sugar which can increase blood sugar levels. It is often substituted for sweets, candies or to control sweet craving as it is healthier than processed sugar and carries a lots of minerals and vitamins for the body to nourish with health benefits. But due to its high glycemic properties dates are associated with foods that can result in weight gain.
Dates have an average gylcemic index (GI) of 103, which is very high and not recommended for people on a weight loss program or suffering from high sugar levels. More and more health experts promote food that have low GI as the secret to long-term health reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes and also beneficial for sustainable weight loss.Foods with GI index less than 55 are considered Low Glycemic Index food (GI < 55). Foods with GI index between 55 and 70 are considered intermediate (55< GI <70). High Glycemic Index foods are with GI index more than 70 (GI >70).
Besides its single but important drawback dates have many other health benefits. They are high in potassium which maintains blood pressure and maintains nerves and muscles.The magnesium in dates help relive muscles, fatigue, nerves and reduces tension. Dates are rich in calcium, iron, copper and manganese with B vitamins to better enzyme activity. All the nutrition of the dried fruit promote better health.
You can eat the fruit raw or use yor culinary skills in making delicious combinations with in in your diet. You could include it with milk, fruits, salads or bread. Its sweet and can be eaten when we are overburdened with work and mind seems wandering as it relives stress and anxiety with instant energy. Read more
Corn has always been in news as the enemy of the dieters. Is it really as unhealthy as they speak of it to be? Let us understand what makes corn healthy or unhealthy and what is the best form to consume it in.
Corn can be eaten boiled, steamed or grilled and is highly nutritious in its natural form. It provides instant energy for the body as it is high in carbohydrates and its high amount of fiber provides a healthy digestive system. It is low in fat and it also tastes goods to eat it regularly alone or in combination of fruits, vegetables, cereals etc. It has anti-oxidation properties along with flavnoids, carotenes which helps it fight diseases and free radicals. Corn is rich in phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, iron and selenium. Corn is a good source of vitamins B1, B5, C, and E, as well as phosphorus.
Though eating corn in its natural form is healthier than eating it in some of its other processed products like corn syrup, fructose which are alternate substitute for sugar.
Another popular way of eating corn is as breakfast cereal made by combining milled corn with sugar. The major ingredients include milled corn, sugar, iron, high fructose corn syrup and vitamins (A, B, C, D, and E). Cornflakes are high in glycemic index which quickly converts the sugar into energy which increases the blood sugar levels in the body and therefore not a healthy breakfast option, especially for those that need to control/manage their blood sugar.
Corn syrup is made from corn which is sweeter than sugar and is digested in our body in an unhealthy manner and is fattening in the body when consumed. This corn syrup is cheap in cost and sweeter so it is used in various commercial products like chewing gums, toffees, cadies, baked products, indian sweets, cheap tomato ketchup, sweetened soda’s and beverages and drinks. It is highly substitued for sugar and is often used in baked products to maintain the moisture and keeps products fresher for longer periods.
Consuming corn in its natural form is healthy but high fructose corn syrup used products don’t provide the same health benefits as corn kernals as its constitution and nutrition value changes. Read nutritional value to know the form of corn used as it can hamper your weight loss and have not so healthy benefits on the body.
Vegetables offer low calories, no fat (when eaten raw) and add lots of vitamins and minerals to the diet. Through out the year we see different vegetables in the departmental store or being sold by our local vendors. We encourage consumption of seasonal vegetables for two reasons, first they are cheaper and secondly they are fresher than those not in season. Most of the vegetables available in summer have high water content as they keep the body cool and replenish the lost nutrition caused due to sweating and general heat. Vegetables are also high in fiber content which keeps us fuller with a healthy digestive system.
Vegetables are not always tasteless and boring. If prepared well they can be better tasting than most of the processed food available. Besides they build immunity and improve the metabolic functions in the body. People especially watching their weight or suffering from any therapeutic condition or even just living healthy should include portions of vegetables in their diet either as salads or stir fried. You could eat vegetables raw, cooked, individually or in a combination with other vegetables, legumes, cereals, etc. Here are some seasonal vegetables that you can eat this season for good health.
Some summer vegetables and their benefits in keeping us healthy
Lady Finger/Okra/Bhindi: This vegetable is low in calories and it adds just 30 calories per 100 grams. It contains vitamins A, C, K and B vitamins along with flavnoids. It is rich in anti-oxidation properties and helps in vision. It contains important minerals as iron, calcium, manganese and magnesium. Healthy for people on weight loss as it makes you fell full and adds lots of nutrition too.
Tori/Ridge Gourd: It is beneficial for the stomach and helps reduce blood sugar levels. 100 gms of Ridge Gourd adds just 20 calories to the body. It is rich in nutrients such as dietary fiber, vitamin c, riboflavin, thiamin, iron and magnesium. The high fiber and low fat content make it effective for weight loss.
Pumpkin: A bowl of pumpkin will add just 30 calories to your diet besides supplying a lot of vitamins and minerals to the body. It is rich in vitamin A, C and E along with iron, magnesium, potassium, niacin and dietary fiber for better digestion. It contains carotenoids which improve the immune system. It has anti-oxidation and anti-inflammatory properties.
Bottle Gourd/Lauki/: Bottle gourd adds just 12 calories per 100 grams. It is 96% water and contains vitamin c and B vitamins. Sodium, iron, potassium are presnt in the vegetable and contains high amount of dietary fiber. It is extremely effective in weight loss, reduces constipation, improves complexion and has a cooling effect on the body.
Gavarfali/ Cluster Beans: Gavarfali (cluster beans) are rich in iron, folic acid, calcium and are an excellent source of fibre. They are best eaten with lentil dals. It only contains 25 calories every 100 gms. High in dietary fiber and rich in vitamins and minerals. Also recommended for weight loss as it improves metabolism.
Watermelon is not only a refreshing fruit to beat the heat on a hot summer day but it has a few health advantages. Water melon is also very effective in reducing your body temperature and blood pressure. This fruit may also help in reducing inflammation that contributes to conditions like asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and arthritis. Watermelon is full of water, carbohydrates and fiber along with essential vitamins and minerals that provides nutrition to the body for better metabolism.