Your diet plays a central role to your health in many aspects, from your physical right through to your mental health. But did you know that your diet can also go a long way towards determining your bone health?
Osteoporosis, or the weakening of the bones, occurs as we age and has a number of risks attached including bone fractures, particularly in the spine or in the hip. This is due to the loss of bone density. Happily, a good diet can go a long way towards preventing osteoporosis. Here’s what you should focus on adding to your diet to increase your bone health.
Everyone knows about calcium – it’s why we were always taught to drink plenty of milk as a kid! However, there are other sources of calcium outside of a glass of milk. Yoghurt and cheese are other great sources of calcium, as is soy milk and dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, broccoli and bok choy. Canned salmon is another excellent source of calcium (as well as Vitamin D), providing a convenient way to easily add calcium to salads and more.
Your calcium needs will vary depending on your age. If you’re under 50, it is recommended that you have around 1000mg of calcium per day, increasing this to 1200mg once you turn 50.
Calcium is important for more than just bones. It may also help to reduce blood pressure, improve heart health, and lower the risk of kidney stones.
Vitamin D is a very important vitamin for our health. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin that has long been known to help the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus (important for growth, maintenance, and repair of all tissues and cells) whilst also reducing cancer cell growth, helping to control infections, and reduce inflammation.
There are three ways you can increase Vitamin D supply to your body: via sunlight, supplements and medications, and of course, diet. Vitamin D is, however, only available in certain foods, these being fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon and tuna, and is sometimes added to other foods such as soy milk.
Eat The Rainbow
When it comes to your general health, it can be very helpful to eat a variety of vegetables in a variety of colours! Eat the rainbow by including red veggies, green veggies, orange veggies, purple veggies and more. Not only will they help you get more calcium into your diet, but they’ll also boost your intake of magnesium, potassium and Vitamin K.
Ensure You’re Not Having Too Much Protein, Sodium or Caffeine
We’ve included some foods that you should definitely eat to support bone health, but what should you avoid? In general, try to take it easy when it comes to protein, sodium and caffeine, as consuming too much food containing these can actually lower your calcium levels. Caffeine in particular can lower your calcium absorption, but this doesn’t mean you have to skip your morning coffee. Just remember: most things are good in moderation.
Don’t forget that practising an all-round healthy lifestyle will go a long way towards not only bone health, but your overall health. Remember to exercise frequently, limit smoking and alcohol, and maintain a healthy weight – all of this will ensure your body is fit and healthy for as long as it can be!
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