How Nutrition can impact on Bone health and what you can do about it.
Bones are fibres that are composed of minerals such as Calcium and Phosphorus. They can support large weights without breaking or bending or crushing. Although you are born with soft bones, through ossification they continually harden until they age of 25. After this age though, you begin to lose bone mass by approx 1% a year. Approx 10% of your bone is replaced each year. So a good foundation in terms of bone is vital for future bone health. When Menopause occurs there is a phase where women lose bone at a faster rate than what it is reabsorbed resulting in thinning. So having this strong foundation lowers the risk of Osteoporosis. As we age more bone cells die than are replaced leading to thinning – this is natural but some people are at a higher risk of Osteoporosis than others. Women for example have a higher risk due to menopause causing a lessening in bone protective Oestrogen.
Bones and Diet.
Caffeine can affect bone mass by increasing Calcium loss from the kidneys, but also fizzy drinks can have a double whammy due to Phosphoric Acid in Cola being linked to lowering of bone density.
Too much Alcohol can deplete minerals and also affects how Calcium is absorbed.
Too much salt also increases the Calcium lost in the urine. Finally, being overweight adds extra pressure to your bones too and increases risk of Arthritis.
As mentioned Calcium – found readily in dairy and dark green leafy veg as well as dried fruit and rhubarb, oranges and melons- is a main player in terms of bone health but Phosphorus is also an important nutrient that has an impact (see Phosphoric Acid) . Vitamin D works synergistically in terms of aiding bone health and is found in meat, eggs, oily fish, milk and fortified cereals. Potassium and Magnesium influence bone health and can be found in Bananas and Apricots and whole grains, nuts and seeds, beans and legumes respectively.
A well balanced diet full of whole foods and less refined products will help you on your way to maintaining good bone health as you age. Adding in some regular weight bearing exercise and healthy lifestyle choices such as swapping water for fuzzy drinks will ensure you protect those bones from thinning too much.