Anyone who has broken a bone or even had a thin fracture – which probably includes most of us – knows the misfortune caused by stabbing pain, countless restrictions and itching under the cast. Although age, health status and the type of fracture determine the speed of healing, rest and proper nutrition can also accelerate bone healing. At the basic structural level, a bone is made up of collagen rods (a protein), which are surrounded by the minerals calcium and phosphorus. While collagen rods provide elasticity, minerals give strength to the bones.
“Proper nutrition can improve the production of collagen and accelerate the healing of a fractured bone”.
In addition to eating foods rich in protein and minerals, it is essential to consume a diet rich in calories, since the body needs a lot of energy to repair the fractured bone. Eat fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, meat, fish and dairy products, but avoid empty calories as in refined foods.
1. Calcium: Milk and Yogurt:
In the second phase of bone healing, the repair phase, calcium and phosphorus are needed so that the bone can grow from each end of the fracture. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends increasing calcium intake, first, to develop dense and strong bones. Foods that are rich sources of calcium include milk, yogurt, cheese and green vegetables such as kale and spinach. Fortified foods such as soy milk, breads and cereals also contain some added calcium. It is essential that when you consume calcium-rich drinks, you shake the bottle or container well, since calcium tends to settle at the bottom. When the body’s tendency to absorb calcium is low, you can also consume calcium supplements. Although it is also important to have phosphorus-rich foods, such as meat or dairy, it is necessary to maintain a delicate balance between calcium and phosphorus to ensure bone health. More phosphorus than calcium often causes calcium to seep from the bones, leaving them brittle.
2. Vitamin C: Citrus Fruits:
The Vitamin C helps in the formation of collagen, and has been seen that high doses of vitamin C accelerate bone healing. It also has another role. Immediately after your bone breaks, your immune system triggers an inflammation. This inflammatory phase has harmful by-products called free radicals that damage cells and further aggravate inflammation. As it is a potent antioxidant, vitamin C can fight these free radicals effectively, reducing inflammation. The richest sources of vitamin C are, of course, citrus fruits such as lemon, oranges, kiwi, berries and green vegetables.
3. Vitamin D: Mackerel and Tuna:
The vitamin D is an important component for bone health as it helps in the absorption of calcium. Although sunlight is the most important source of vitamin D, foods such as mackerel, salmon and tuna are good sources. A large egg makes up about 10% of the required daily intake of vitamin D. Calcium supplements are also good sources of vitamin D. These fish also have omega-3 fats that are good for the bones.
4. Vitamin K: Green Leafy Vegetables:
The results of two large prospective cohort studies support an association between vitamin K intake and the relative risk of hip fracture – those who consumed the highest amount of vitamin K had the lowest risk of hip fractures. Leafy vegetables such as kale and cabbage are a great source of vitamin K, and they also come with many antioxidant nutrients for plants.
5. Potassium: Apricots and Prunes:
A study conducted in 2015 has found that potassium salts (bicarbonates and citrates) found in fruits and vegetables are essential for bone health. Potassium prevents bone resorption, a process by which bone breaks down and minerals are released back into the blood for circulation. Although this is a natural process, people with osteoporosis have higher rates of bone resorption than formation. The main dietary sources of potassium include apricots, prunes, tuna, soy and avocado.
6. Magnesium: Quinoa and Rice Bran:
The magnesium assists in bone formation. About 50-60% of the magnesium in your body is found in your bones. Eat foods such as quinoa , rice bran, spinach, almonds, cashew nuts and pumpkin seeds to get magnesium.
7. Iron: Red Meat and Spinach:
The iron is essential for collagen formation. It is also essential to improve the hemoglobin content in the blood, so that fractured bones receive enough oxygen for healing. This is the reason why fractures may take longer to heal with iron deficiency anemia. Include enough red meat and poultry in your diet for heme iron and plants such as spinach for non-heme iron. Adding vitamin C to your diet will also ensure that iron is absorbed properly.
8. Zinc: Oysters and Crabs:
The zinc , a trace mineral, is also essential for bone health. In fact, the lack of zinc leads to delayed bone growth. As this mineral stimulates the function of osteoblasts (bone-forming cells) and bone mineralization, it is essential for the repair of fractured bones. Oysters are a very rich source of zinc, followed by crab, lobsters, chicken and yogurt.
9. Protein: Lean Meat:
Dietary protein is essential for bone healing, since collagen is itself a protein. One study found that protein deficiency during bone healing affects bone tissue formation. Protein helps absorb calcium from the diet in the bones and also aids in the release of growth factors that help bone renewal. The main sources of protein include lean meat, fish, soy, milk and nuts.
Do not Eat these Foods to Heal the Bones:
- Alcohol:Chronic alcohol consumption causes serious health problems such as pancreatitis, liver disease, heart problems, cancer and osteoporosis. Alcohol interferes with calcium balance by increasing parathyroid hormone that causes a reduction in calcium stores.
- Too much salt:Although salt intake is necessary for the healthy functioning of the body, excessive consumption of salt in the diet can cause weakening of the bones.
- Caffeine:Drinking more than 3 cups of coffee a day can interfere with the absorption of calcium in the body and can cause bone weakening.