Osteoporosis is known as the ‘silent disease’ that over 3 million people in the UK have. More than 500,000 people receive hospital treatment for fragility fractures (fractures that occur from standing height or less) every year as a result of Osteoporosis. Those most at risk are:
- Menopausal women
- If you have taken steroids for asthma over a long period of time
- Family history
- Those on thyroid medication
We are constantly bombarded by adverts and media reminding us to drink our milk to ensure we are getting enough calcium to keep our bones strong. But here’s a bit of food for thought from an article I was reading recently:
Americans consume more cows milk and its products per person than most populations in the world. So Americans should have wonderfully strong bones, right? Unfortunately this is not the case! A recent study showed that American women aged fifty and older have one of the highest rates of hip fractures in the world.
The only countries with higher rates are in Europe and in the South Pacific (Australia and New Zealand) where they consume even more milk than in the United States!
The researchers that carried out this study explained that animal protein, unlike plant protein, increases the acid load in the body. An increased acid load means that our blood and tissues become more acidic. The body does not like this acidic environment and begins to fight it. In order to neutralize the acid, the body uses calcium, which acts as a very effective base.
This calcium, however, must come from somewhere. It ends up being pulled from the bones, and the calcium loss weakens them, putting them at greater risk for fracture.
Bone health is a serious issue and lot of people worry about where their calcium will come from if they choose to go dairy-free. Throughout the DROPiT21 programme we encourage everyone to go strictly dairy-free for the 21 days. Thereafter some people make their own choice as to whether to return to it, or some elements of it.
Dairy, or more specifically, lactose (the sugar in milk) is a common trigger food known to cause bloating, IBS type issues, skin problems, asthma, migraines, headaches, mucus, sinus problems, respiratory or lymphatic conditions. Many of our clients find relief from some of the above conditions after being dairy free so choose to leave it out of their diet, this will also ring very true to those who follow a vegan diet.
SO IF YOU DECIDE NOT TO EAT DAIRY – WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR CALCIUM FROM?
Green vegetables, especially leafy greens ones, are a fantastic source of calcium, particularly:
- Collard greens
- Bok Choy
- Sardines (great for Vit D)
- Salmon (tinned)
- Sea Food
Nuts / Seeds:
- Brazil Nuts
- Flax Seeds
- Chia Seeds
- Sesame Seeds
- Beans / Lentils / Pulses
OTHER THINGS THAT CAN HELP BONE DENSITY
Weight-bearing exercise which involves impact is also great for maintaining strong bones. The NHS recommends 2.5 hours of weight bearing exercise per week, so even if you can’t manage an intense workout a stroll around the block can help to keep those bones strong.
CALCIUM & VITAMIN D
Calcium is probably the nutrient you think of first, but vitamin D is just as important for keeping bones strong and preventing the bone disease osteoporosis. Vitamin D helps your intestines to absorb calcium from the food that you eat. Getting enough of both nutrients is an important part of making sure your bones are dense and strong. Make sure you get outside into the sunlight and eat plenty of vitamin D containing foods such as eggs (particularly the yolk), fatty fish (salmon, tuna or mackerel) liver and fortified foods.