Bone health

Bone health is something we’re all aware of, but probably not something we all practice. Bone health is important at any age. We need strong bones to help us through adolescence and then to help us as we age.

Below are some of the nutrients that can help with bone health:

Protein

A number of recent studies suggest that a diet lacking in protein accelerate bone loss. Unfortunately, however, excessive amounts may be detrimental. The recommendation is to eat moderate amounts of high-quality proteins including lean meats such as chicken, turkey, lean beef, seafood, low-fat yoghurts and cheese and beans, legumes and peanut butter.

Calcium

Is thought that calcium may help lower high blood pressure and protect against colon and breast cancer. A lack of calcium could lead to a condition called rickets in children or osteoporosis in later life. When it comes to osteoporosis prevention and treatment, calcium is one of the most important nutrients. The best choices for calcium include low fat dairy products and cheeses, soya beans, kale, broccoli, and almonds. Care needs to be taken with calcium, as an excess of calcium can also lead to problems such as kidney deposits.

Vitamin C

Studies suggest that vitamin C rich foods may also help slow the rate of bone loss as we age. Vitamin C also helps protect cells and keeps them healthy and is essential for the maintenance of healthy connective tissue. Eating oranges, lemons, grapefruit, pineapple, raspberries, mangoes, lychees, bell peppers, hot-chili peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage and tomatoes, to name but a few, enables your body to produce collagen, a protein that contributes to bone strength and integrity.

Potassium

Many fruits and vegetables contain significant quantities of potassium. It is thought that eating a diet rich in potassium may help slow the decline in bone mineral density that occurs with ageing. There are some great sources of potassium in fruit and vegetables including bananas, honeydew melon, plums, prunes, raisins, avocados, artichokes, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, beans, nuts, fish, shellfish, meat and chicken.

Magnesium

It is thought that magnesium may play a supporting role when it comes to treating and helping to prevent Osteoporosis and helps to convert the food we eat into energy. Natural sources of magnesium are green leafy vegetables, wholemeal bread, pumpkin seeds, brown rice, nuts, sweet potatoes, beans, sesame seeds, flaxseed, meat and fish and dairy foods.

Vitamin D

Another critical nutrient for bone health is vitamin D. Calcium relies on vitamin D to help it with absorption. Your body can make vitamin D with the help of sunlight, but in the interest of protecting your skin and during the year when we see very little sunlight, we must get most of our vitamin D from food and supplements. The best food sources are fatty fish including salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines, low fat milk, soya milk, and yogurt and egg yolks. As there are only very few foods that are rich in vitamin D, you may need to take a supplement, such as a multivitamin that contains vitamin D.

Vitamin K

This vitamin is essential for the formation of osteocalcin, a type of protein found only in bone and a high intake of vitamin K has been linked to lower risk of fractures. Vitamin K is especially found in leafy green vegetables such as kale, lettuce, and spinach as well as asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and watercress. However vitamin K is a natural blood thickener and may cause problems if you’re taking blood–thinning medication, so talk to your doctor before incorporating vitamin K rich foods into your diet.

Soya Protein

We should also try to include high-quality soya foods such assoya beans, tofu, soya cheese and soya milk, soya yogurt into our diets a few times each week. Some soya products can be an acquired taste if we are used to the taste of dairy foods, but soya yoghurts and milk in particular are very tasty.


22 May, 2014

4 thoughts on “Bone health

  1. I know a number of family members who have experienced bone density loss as they have aged, so it is good to know that we can do something about it through our diets.

    Many people will probably just associate calcium intake with bone health and it is amazing to see the range of minerals and vitamins that also contribute, I had no idea.

    1. I think we’ll all probably know one or two people who will have experienced bone density loss. I see so many people with the condition whom I have never met before, who have the condition. A curvature of the back is a tell tale sign someone has Osteoporosis.

      I agree with you, there is so much out there in terms of food health that can prevent bone loss. I think more education is needed for us to understand fully what we can do to help ourselves, in terms of diet, lifestyle and exercise. I hope my blogs help in that regard.

  2. Very good information. I just had my bone density test done and the tech that did the test was telling me about how doctors are finding out that Vitamin D is just as important as calcium. Some of them are giving patients an infusion of vitamin D of about 5000ius on top of the 1000-2000ius the patient is taking at home daily.

    I take 2000ius a day, but probably need more. I’ve lost 1 inch on my height but it could be that I have a little scoliosis. I have a really bad slump and the doctors have always thought that I have Osteoporosis but so far all my density tests have come back on the low normal scale.

    I’ve also stopped drinking diet coke. I was drinking 48 cans a week and I know that it contributes to bone loss. I drink water with lemon now. Also, Osteoporosis runs in families. My grandmother and mother had it.

    Oestrogen is one thing they give for osteoporosis but I will refuse any oestrogen related meds and foods as my mothers breast cancer was oestrogen fed. Again, great informative post Ilana.

    1. Thanks Lisa! I’m pleased you’ve stopped drinking the diet coke and you’re right diet coke does contribute to bone loss. I agree with your doctor about Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps with absorption of calcium and is an important mineral.

      I know someone who had the same problem as your mum. This lady was also on Oestrogen meds when she entered the menopause and also had breast cancer, but seems to be okay for now.

      I’m so pleased about your test results, although with scoliosis you will still have to be careful. It’s important for us to continue to build bone density because around the age of 35 we begin to lose it.

      I’m glad you found today’s blog informative.

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