Monthly Archives: August 2012

Learn to LOVE your BONES

learn to love your bonesEver wondered if our body had no bones? Well… it is hard to imagine that the hardest part of our body might not remain hard for long to support our falls….. if we do not take care of them.

The infrastructure of bones is laid in our mother’s womb and by the time we achieve adulthood the process of building bones is complete. Though the base has been built; it is still very important to keep on cementing it all through our lives.

Without going into the technicalities of how bones are formed let us talk about the nutrients essential for maintaining their health. Ask anyone and the reply would be: calcium. Calcium is famous for its role in the healthy upkeep of bones and teeth. Amount of calcium we need changes at different stages of life, its requirement peaking in adolescence, pregnancy and lactation. With age the efficiency to absorb calcium declines, which is one of the reasons why seniors need to consume higher amounts of calcium.

Milk and milk products are the most readily available dietary sources of calcium. Besides calcium they also provide protein and other micronutrients which are important for bone health. Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, bok choy (Chinese cabbage); fish with soft, edible bones like sardine, salmon; nuts especially almonds; fruits like oranges, apricots, dried figs and tofu. Calcium-fortified breakfast cereals and flours also contain significant amounts of calcium. These non-dairy foods provide a suitable alternative for lactose-intolerant people.

Give me some sunshine….. Vitamin D the Sunshine Vitamin is needed for proper absorption of calcium from our diet. Food sources of vitamin D are limited, and comprise oily fish like salmon, tuna, sardine, halibut, oysters and shrimp, egg yolk and liver. Milk and some fortified cereals also provide Vitamin D. Vitamin K: required for apt mineralization of bones. Leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, cabbage; liver, cheese and soybean provide good amount of vitamin K.

Magnesium plays an important role in forming bone mineral. Good sources being green vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, unrefined grains and fish. Other nutrients needed for maintaining healthy bones are boron, fluoride, Vitamin C and phosphorus. Good sources of boron consist of avocado, nuts, peanut butter; fluorine – water, fluoridated toothpastes; phosphorus – milk, milk products, peas, meat, eggs, etc.

Few More Pointers:

  • Move it or lose it– Weight bearing exercises (e.g. walking, running, strength training, dancing) help build bone mass and strength in youngsters, maintains bone density in adults, and slows down bone loss in elderly. 
  • Avoid smoking: it hampers the work of bone-building cells and increases the risk of fracture. 
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption: high intake (more than 2 standard units per day) has been linked to increased risk of hip and other fractures.
  • Use salt and caffeine in moderation, as these can promote calcium loss from the body, especially if calcium intake is inadequate.

For elderly with reduced appetite, low activity levels or medical conditions, supplements of above mentioned nutrients may be required. Other people at risk of developing weak bones include pregnant and nursing mom and people with certain medical conditions, for example liver or kidney problems where the diet of a person may be compromised.

Love thy bones. They will support you as long as you support them.


Link to study highlighting the role of above mentioned nutrients in preventing osteoporosis.

Clipart from

Can and Can’t Haves for Celiacs

Being a North Indian I cannot imagine my life without wheat. Alas!!! Wheat and few other cereals need to be avoided by those suffering with celiac disease (Read more on celiac disease). But there is more to the diet to be followed by a gluten sensitive person rather than just avoiding wheat, oats, barley, etc.

A gluten sensitive person needs to be well informed about his condition, symptoms as well as foods containing gluten. In today’s era of packaged and processed foods it is not very difficult to know the ingredients because these foods carry excellent educational labels which mention the ingredients as well as allergy information. But sometimes gluten containing foods are present in hidden form and might not be mentioned on the labels. So care needs to be taken while consuming any processed or preserved food. Following is a non-exhaustive list of foods which are allowed, not allowed and to be included with caution by people who are sensitive to this protein.

You may consume following foods without any side effects

  • Milk Products: Milk, cream, buttermilk, plain yogurt, processed cheese,  paneer
  • Grains:  Products containing amaranth (chaulai), arrowroot, buckwheat (kuttu), corn, beans, lentil, rice, sago, sorghum (jowar), soy, pearl millet (bajra), water chestnut flour (singhare ka atta)
  • Flesh foods:  Meat, Fish, Chicken, Egg (Fresh)
  • Fruits and vegetables: Fresh, frozen, canned fruits vegetables and their juices.
  • Soups: Home made
  • Desserts: Ice cream, egg custards, gelatin desserts, cakes, cookies, pastries made with allowed grains
  • Tea, coffee, cocoa, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages like rum, gin, whiskey, vodka, wine.
  • Plain pickles, ketchup, pure herbs, spices, vinegar

To be consumed with care (might contain gluten)

  • Milk Products: Milk based drinks, flavoured / frozen yogurt, sour cream, cheese sauces & spreads
  • Flesh foods:  Prepared / preserved meats such as ham, bacon, frozen meat patties, sausages, salami, egg substitutes
  • Fruits and vegetables: Fruits or vegetables with sauces. French-fries (from restaurants)
  • Soups: Canned soups, dried soup mixes
  • Desserts: Milk puddings, custard powder, pudding mixes
  • Instant tea, coffee substitutes, fruit-flavored drinks, chocolate drinks & mixes, flavored & herbal teas
  • Seasoning mixes

Do Not Consume

  • Milk Products: Malted Milk
  • Grains:  Products containing wheat, rye, barley, oats
  • Flesh foods:  Canned fish containing wheat protein
  • Fruits and vegetables: Scalloped potatoes (containing wheat flour), Battered dipped vegetables
  • Soups: Soups made with restricted ingredients
  • Desserts: Ice cream with cones
  • Beer and malted beverages; beverages made with barley or oats
  • Soy sauce, Malt vinegar, Worcestershire sauce

 It is extremely important for you, if you are sensitive to gluten, to read labels before buying and consuming processed foods. As a celiac patient you should never indulge in even occasional intake of gluten containing foods. Proper knowledge and care can keep you away from frequent symptoms and improve the quality of your life.


Will be updating few recipe options for gluten sensitive people soon.