Ninety percent of adult bone mass is in place by the end of adolescence and it has to last you a lifetime.
A well-balanced diet, an active lifestyle, and a healthy weight can prevent conditions such as osteoporosis (porous bones), osteomalacia (soft bones), and poor dental health.
Factors that affect bone health:
- Poor diet
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Genetic predisposition
Our bones are predominantly made of collagen and are filled with bone minerals called calcium and phosphate.
Did you know that about 99% of the calcium present in our body is in bone tissue? The rest of the 1% is in blood, extracellular fluid, muscle, and other tissues.
Important nutrients to help bone health:
Calcium: Of course, when we talk of bone health, Calcium tops the list. Calcium is the mineral that helps to build bones and to keep them healthy.
Sources of calcium: Broccoli, cabbage, Okra, nuts, milk and milk products, fortified cereal or food products, fish like sardines where you would eat it with bones, soy products like Tofu
Vitamin D: Vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium and phosphates which are the minerals that are important for bone growth.
Main source: Sunlight. Vitamin D is synthesized by the skin when it is exposed to sunlight.
Hence during the winter months, it is harder to meet your vitamin D needs due to the lack of sunlight.
During winter months it is advised to take a 10ug supplement /day
Some of the dietary sources are Dairy products, egg yolk, oily fish, and red meat.
Phosphorous: This mineral helps with bone growth; however excess intake can reduce the absorption of calcium increases the risk of fracture.
Main sources: Dairy, fish, red meat, chicken, bread, brown rice, and oats
Vitamin C: Vitamin C helps with the synthesis of collagen which is the main protein in bone. Collagen helps to support the formation of bones, tendons, and cartilage. It kind of works as scaffolding to provide strength and structure.
Main sources: Peppers, broccoli, strawberries, potatoes, Brussel sprouts, and citrus fruit
Alongside having a balanced diet that provides essential vitamins and minerals, physical activity is key to bone health. 20-30min of moderate-intensity activities combining with some weight-bearing activity, 5 x weeks is the recommendation, but if you are someone struggling with exercise, start slow and spread out your exercise time in small chunks.
Some of the Examples of moderate-intensity activities are:
Riding a bike
Pushing a lawnmower
When it comes to preserving bone health, there’s a lot at stake and dietitians have the skills to assess your diet and lifestyle and provide evidence-based advice.