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Our teenage and early adulthood is spent taking care of the way we look and building a career. Due to the youthful health of our body, we’re able to handle stress and fight off illnesses during these years. Hence, we often take it for granted and forget that it won’t remain as strong forever.
Yes, health—especially bone health—is often ignored during our youthful years. However, you need to keep a strong check on your bone health while you’re younger to ensure they stay healthy even at a later stage in life.
For that, you really need to monitor your calcium intake, especially while you’re young. Here’s why:
1. It prevents a drop in your bone density
As you age, there is a likelihood of your bone density dropping. This happens when “bone breakdown outpaces bone formation,” according to a journal in the Harvard Health Publishing.
Many studies in the late 1970s indicated that in postmenopausal women, the body starts drawing calcium from bones to maintain adequate calcium levels in the blood, resulting in a weaker bone density. So, how about stocking up on calcium well in advance to prevent that from happening?
Dr. Neha Pathania, chief dietitian, Paras Hospital, Gurgaon recommends starting early and says, “10 to 20 years is the best time to build bone density.”
2. It keeps bone issues at bay
Everyone is well-familiar with bone conditions like arthritis (swelling and tenderness of joints) and osteoporosis (when the body loses too much bone resulting in easy breakage of bones and fractures).
“Loss of bone strength and density can lead to osteoporosis,” warns Dr. Pathania.
3. It increases peak bone mass while it is possible
Peak bone mass is the maximum possible strength in our bones. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic surgeons, the best period to increase this is during childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood through proper diet and exercise.
It goes on to explain that most people achieve their peak bone mass by the age of 25 to 30 post which the bones start deteriorating. Additionally, our body’s ability to absorb and utilise calcium may also decline with age. Hence, keeping your calcium intake high during these years is super important, ladies.
4. It keeps your hormones in check
Women need to build up calcium stores in their teenage and early 20s especially because this is the ‘childbearing stage’. Plus, adequate calcium and vitamin D intake can decrease the risk of hormonal problems like Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) in women of this age group,” says Dr. Ritu Sethi, principal and senior consultant, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Columbia Asia Hospital, Gurgaon.
Now that you know all the advantages, I hope that you will start focusing on the calcium-rich nuts and seeds, leafy vegetables, milk, and lentils in your diet. Don’t forget to back this step up with some bone-strengthening exercise!