You may remember that in my last blog I started talking about bone health and factors that can influence their health and strength them.
Some of the factors you have no control over, but there are several others which you do. And it is these things that you can control, that can go on to prevent bone disease and issues later in life; as well as, being about to keep at bay those things that you can not control.
What are bones made of?
Your bones are made up of several nutrients, not just calcium or Vitamin D. They also need Magnesium, Zinc, Boron, Phosphorous, Vitamin K and collagen (which is a type of protein, made up of amino acids)!
They each help to support the growth of bone cells that stimulate growth, mineralisation, and flexibility. You may be thinking, flexible bones, that’s crazy?? But your bones do need some flexibility otherwise they are too brittle and break with any kind of impact. Think of your bones being like beams of steel. They are strong to support the weight of a building, but also flexible enough to move with strong winds
With osteoporosis, your bones are more likely to break with a bad fall, but this is because they have become thin and fragile. Think of your being now being like the Tuile biscuits. They look ok but have no strength to support any heavy impact or extra weight.
The funny thing about your body, as you would know by now, is that everything has to be in balance. Especially when it comes to Calcium and Phosphorous. If there is too much or not enough of one or the other, your body naturally goes on to release or hold on to one or the other to maintain the balance.
These two minerals then need their ‘buddies’ – Magnesium, Zinc, Boron, Vitamin K, and Collagen – to support conversion of enzymes that stimulate bone growth, remodelling and structure. And if you do not have enough of any of these nutrients, then the various processes that they are part of will become ineffective; or your body will turn on other functions to compensate for what you are missing.
Oh…I forgot to mention that you also need a good intake of essential fatty acids – Omega 3! They help to –
- keep inflammation down
- protect the cells from becoming damaged
- supports the growth of healthy red and white blood cells, in the bone marrow
So, how to support Bone Health?
Well, you all know what I’m going to say … Eat well and Exercise!
And yes, you are right. So, it is important to eat from the colours of the rainbow, as this ensures that you are getting all of the nutrients that you need and, they are in the correct form for you to absorb. But also, depending on your age and family history, you may need to have some blood tests to have a quick overview of what your levels are. You can have your local doctor, or I can, request a blood test looking at –
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin K
Should you have a family history of osteoporosis, hip fractures or, osteoarthritis, you can also ask for a bone density scan to be done. This will give you an image of how your bones are ‘looking’.
Foods for Bone Health
Vitamin K is generally found in all of your dark leafy green, in particular –
- Silver beet
- Collard greens, which look like pale silver beet leaves
- Spinach, raw
- Brussel sprouts
- Parsley, fresh
And you will also find good sources of Vitamin K in beef liver, pork chops, chicken, goose liver pate
The best sources of Magnesium rich foods are –
- Almonds, cashews, brazil nuts
- Flax, pumpkin and chia seeds
- Whole grains – buckwheat, quiona, brown rice
- Fish, especially the oily ones
- Bananas, also a good source of potassium
- Leafy greens
Phosphorous rich foods are –
- Organ meats
- Seafood – sardines, clams, scallops, salmon, mackerel, crab, crayfish
- Sunflower and pumpkin seeds
- Brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, pine nuts and pistachios
- Whole grains – cooked oats and brown rice, quinoa, amaranth
- Beans, lentils, chickpeas, soybean
Boron rich foods –
- Dried and cooked beans, lentils, chickpeas
- Prune juice – also good for digestion
- Dark leafy greens
- Raisins, dried apricots, prunes
Vitamin D, the best source is our beautiful sun. Depending on your skin colour, you need to be out in the mid-morning or late afternoon sun 10-30min. And where possible, have your thighs and, stomach exposed.
And last but not least, make sure that you get in at least 2-4 times per week, High Intensity Intermittent training . I can also refer you to an exercise physiologist should you have any existing injuries that could affect your ability to exercise. They will work with you to get your body ‘trained’ and ready to do more exercising.
But don’t forget to have a check up before any type of exercising – just to make sure that your good to go.
Myneni VD, Mezey E. Regulation of bone remodeling by vitamin K2. Oral Dis. 2017 Nov;23(8):1021-1028. doi: 10.1111/odi.12624. Epub 2017 Apr 5. PMID: 27976475; PMCID: PMC5471136.
Sale C, Elliott-Sale KJ. Nutrition and Athlete Bone Health. Sports Med. 2019 Dec;49(Suppl 2):139-151. doi: 10.1007/s40279-019-01161-2. PMID: 31696454; PMCID: PMC6901417.
Yin, W., Li, Z., & Zhang, W. (2019). Modulation of Bone and Marrow Niche by Cholesterol. Nutrients, 11(6), 1394. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11061394