5 nutrition tips for better bone health
1 Keep up your calcium health
There’s more calcium in your body than any other mineral, and over 99% of that is found in your teeth and bones. If we don’t get adequate calcium from our diet, our bodies will leech the calcium from our bones to achieve this.
It’s recommended that adults get 700mg of calcium per day. Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt provide excellent sources of calcium, but don’t worry if you’re not into them. People who do not include dairy in their diet can still have excellent bone health.
Non-dairy sources that contain the same amount of calcium as a third of a pint of milk include four dried figs, 50g tofu, a portion of fish with bones such as sardines and mackerel, sesame seeds and calcium-fortified milk alternatives such as soya, rice and nut milks.
2 Get some Vitamin D
The importance of vitamin D to bone health is two-fold in that vitamin D is both essential for absorption of calcium and inadequate vitamin D causes the breakdown of our bones. It’s recommended that people get 10 minutes of sunlight once or twice a day to up their vitamin D levels.
Active individuals may need more vitamin D than others to help prevent stress fractures. Experts also think that the current recommended vitamin D intake is too low,and that we need ten times more to ward off problems caused by vitamin D deficiency. If in doubt, you can up your intake by eating more vitamin D-rich foods such as oily fish, eggs and fortified cereals.
3 Make the most of minerals
Potassium, magnesium and phosphorus all contribute to strong, healthy bones. With a balanced diet, you should be able to get the amount of these you need.
Make sure you are eating a wide variety of different coloured fruit and veg and include some dark green leafy vegetables. Including nuts, seeds, brown rice, lean meat and fish on a regular basis will also ensure you hit your recommended mineral intakes.
4 Drink responsibly
Alcohol and caffeine are known to reduce calcium absorption and increase bone loss. We used to think that the phosphate in fizzy drinks was causing additional bone loss but now it is believed that this was due to the caffeine in soft drinks such as cola as opposed to the carbonation process itself.
Caffeine can boost your running performance, but try not to consume excessive amounts, whether that’s through tea, coffee, fizzy drinks or energy drinks.
5 Reduce your salt intake
Consume a lot of salt and the body will get rid of the excess sodium in urine – and take calcium with it on the way.
Using rehydration drinks after a heavy training session shouldn’t cause a lot of problems as they’ll be replacing the salt you’ve lost through sweat, but it’s food you need to look out for. Most of the salt that we consume is hidden in processed foods and salty snacks.