Find out what gives strength to healthy bones
We all know bones are strong and hard but have you ever wondered why bones are the way they are? What role do bones play in your body? You can learn all that and more in this article.
What are bones and what do they do?
Bones are rigid and hard and make up a part of the skeletal system of the body. Bones provide protection to our vital organs and they provide a structure to the human body. One important job that bones do is to support muscles that help us with our mobility. They help us move our hands and feet. The muscles and connective tissues grow around the bone structure and aid in movement.
One important function that bones have is that they produce red blood cells and white blood cells. These are not produced by the outer portion of the bone but by the bone marrow. Bones are also a storehouse for different minerals such as calcium and phosphorus. Whenever the body does not get the required amount of calcium, it withdraws some from the bones. Bones prevent the human blood from getting very alkaline by absorbing certain mineral salts and keeping the pH, acidity or alkalinity, balance of the blood.
When a baby is born, it has 270 bones in the body. However, as the body grows, some bones fuse and by the time we grow up the number of bones reduces to 206. Bones repair themselves based on the calcium available in the body. The calcium needs of a growing child are higher than adults since their body is constantly repairing itself. When there isn’t enough calcium from natural sources, the body uses the deposit on the bones which is why as a mother, you must ensure your child gets enough calcium from natural sources or supplements.
What are bones made of and why are they so strong?
Bones are made primarily of calcium phosphate and collagen. In isolation, these two compounds are very soft, but combined they form a sturdy organ that is vital to the human body. The collagen and calcium are interwoven to form a tight matrix of cells that comprises the bone and gives it strength. There is a hard outer layer which comprises of mineral deposits and a soft internal layer of collagen, bone tissue, and bone marrow.
Bones are strong and can bear weight and blunt forces because they have the right balance of a mineral outer layer and a soft inner layer. Bones keep building the mineral deposit based on the needs of the body and the consumption of minerals such as calcium and phosphorus. The body can withdraw these mineral deposits to meet its needs and bones rebuild the layer based on our consumption of calcium rich foods.
In spite of these bones being strong, they are also flexible to an extent. Each part of the body can move because of the muscles and connective tissue controlling it.
One important thing to remember is that bones do not stay strong all the time. As the body grows old, bones weaken and become brittle. It becomes necessary to consume enough calcium and vitamin D to ensure these bones build fresh mineral deposits that give the bones their strength.
That is why it is very essential for growing children to consume adequate sources of calcium and vitamin D. This can be through fortified milk or natural food sources. Meeting the body’s needs for these nutrients will ensure stronger bone health.
What should be consumed to keep bones strong?
Foods rich in Vitamin D and calcium should be regularly consumed to ensure the body’s needs for calcium are met. Remember, in case of any deficiency, the body withdraws these minerals from the bones and that causes the bones to become weak.
Sources of calcium:
5.Green and leafy vegetables
6.Ragi or finger millet
Sources of Phosphorus:
8.Lentils and pulses like toor dal, masoor dal, moong dal
Sources of vitamin D:
3.Local varieties of fatty fish
5.Coconut (fresh, dry or coconut oil)
As a mother, make sure your growing child consumes milk and dairy products since they contain calcium, phosphorus, and trace amounts of vitamin D. If your child doesn’t drink plain milk, check out this recipe for masala milk (hyperlink masala milk recipe here).