Good nutrition and making healthy food choices are one of the most important prevention and treatment tools in maintaining healthy bones and reducing risk of osteoporosis. Calcium and Vitamin D are the key players in building and maintaining healthy bones, but there are a number of other food and nutrients whose roles are just as important.
Our bones are the storage unit of calcium – a crucial building block in the development and maintenance of healthy bones. Calcium is essential for many body functions such as muscle movement, nerve operation and immunity. Our body cannot make calcium and will compensate low calcium levels in the blood by drawing it from our bones.
Therefore it is important to have adequate intake through your diet to ensure that your bone mineral strength isn’t compromised.
Daily recommended calcium intake is 1000mg -1300mg. This is equivalent to two serves of dairy and another service of calcium rich foods. A serve of dairy is 250mL of milk, 200g of yoghurt, or 40g of cheese.
Food sources: Low fat or fat-free fat milk and yoghurt, cheddar cheese, broccoli, almond, tinned salmon and sardine, spinach, fortified soymilk.
Helps to increase the absorption of calcium from our stomach and regulates the amount of calcium in the blood. Without vitamin D, calcium will not do its job.
Our main sources of Vitamin D are production in the skin after exposure to the sun. Dietary vitamin D makes up a small percentage of our requirements.
Food sources: Fortified cereals, salmon, mackerels, egg yokes, fortified milk, and soymilk.
A mineral that helps your body absorb calcium and maintain strong bone structure. It has been shown to treat and prevent osteoporosis due to its ability to neutralize metabolic acids in the body that can cause bone loss.
Food sources: Pumpkin seeds, quinoa, brown rice, flaxseeds, sweet potato, beans and cashews.
Potassium is found in many fruits and vegetables and plays an important role in bone formation, calcium balance and slowing the decline of age related bone mineral density loss.
Foods sources: soybeans, rock melon, apricot, papaya, banana, plumes, avocados, carrots, tomatoes, almond and pistachios, milk (fat free, reduced fat).
Essential for collagen formation: a key protein in bone tissues that contributes to strength and structure.
A diet rich in vitamin C helps to increase bone density and reduce bone fractures.
Food sources: capsicum, strawberries, oranges, kiwi fruits, pineapples, broccoli, kale, papaya, and Brussels sprouts
Exercise helps to build bone density during developmental years as well as maintain bone health in later years.
Regular exercise maintains the muscle tones and strength surrounding your bones and offers protection; in turn it will help prevent falls and fractures.
Try to include a variety of resistance exercises such as lunges, pushups, and lightweights. As well as weight-bearing exercises: ones that require your body to carry its own weight. Walking and jogging are very helpful.