Fight Osteoporosis With The Right Diet


Every 3 seconds, there is one osteoporotic fracture occurring worldwide with 8.9 million fractures annually. One out of 8 males and 1 out of 3 females in India suffer from osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease of the bone characterized by increased risk of fractures and low bone mineral density. It occurs in men and women between 50-60 years of age, being more common in post-menopausal women. In India, osteoporotic fractures occur at a younger age than in the West.

Peak bone mass is attained from birth to adolescence. Care should be taken to ensure sufficient calcium and vitamin D levels during this phase. Beyond adolescence, no further bone growth occurs. Rather, bone mass decreases gradually with age and thereafter calcium and vitamin D intake through diet and supplements can only slow down the deterioration but not completely stop it.

The major dietary causes for osteoporosis are poor calcium intake accompanied by low vitamin D levels. In addition to this, sedentary lifestyle involving desk jobs and minimal physical activity further contribute to bone loss. The function of calcium and vitamin D in the body are inter-dependent. Vitamin D is important for the absorption and deposition of calcium into the bones. Hence, we need to ensure normal levels of both to secure bone health.

Most of us do not fulfil our requirements for dietary calcium. Also, widespread vitamin D deficiency is seen across India, at all ages and in both sexes, particularly in the urban areas. Poor sunlight exposure, skin pigmentation and a vitamin D-deficient diet have been determined as the leading causes.

Recommended intake of Calcium

Group Calcium (mg/d)
Adult women 600
Men 600
Pregnant 1200
Lactation 1200
Post-menopause 800
Infants 500
Children 1-9y 600
10-18y 800

Individuals at higher risk for osteoporosis:

  •         Family history of bone problems
  •         Smoking
  •         Excess Alcohol consumption
  •         Low physical activity
  •         Low body weight
  •         Poor calcium intake
  •         No exposure to sunlight
  •         Medication such as
  •         Steroids (such as cortisone and prednisone)
  •         High doses of thyroid hormone
  •         seizures (such as phenobarbital and phenytoin)


  •         DEXA (Dual X ray Absorptiometry) :This test reveals bone mineral density


  •         Increase calcium intake
  •         1000-1200 mg of elemental calcium per day
  •         Complemented with 700-800 IU of vitamin D.

Foods containing significant amounts of calcium

Food product Amount Calcium content
Ragi (nachni) 50g (1 cup) 172mg
Spinach, Corriander, Arbi ke patte, Methi 1 cup (75-100g) 250mg
Milk, curds, paneer, cheese 3 cups (300ml) of milk/ curds 960mg
Til (Gingelly seeds) 25g 362mg
Fish 50g 202mg

Sun exposure for vitamin D

  •         Most people meet their vitamin D needs through exposure to sunlight
  •         Approximately 5-30 minutes of sun exposure between 10 AM and 3 PM at least twice a week to the face, arms, legs, or back without sunscreen

Begin a regular exercise program:

Exercise is one of the most important ways to reduce your chances of falling.

Exercises that improve balance and coordination are the most helpful ones.

Light weight-bearing exercises

Walking for 30-45 minutes daily

Light stretching

In addition to this, get your complete health checkup done on  a regular basis. You can upload your medical reports & health indicators on eKincare – Your Personal Health Manager and stay updated about your health and take steps to stay healthy.

Author: drpoojachhawcharia

Dr Pooja Chhawcharia is the Senior Nutritionist at eKincare with over 7 years of experience in Nutrition education, diet counseling and research. She is a Registered Dietician with the Indian Dietetic Association and Certified Diabetes Educator recognized by the International Diabetes federation . She is also interested in ancillary sciences such as Yoga and Naturopathy.

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