In this video, award-winning dietitian, nutritionist and best-selling author, Azmina Govindji RD MBDA, gives her top tips for maintaining healthy bones. You can read a transcript of the video, and some more information, below.
Welcome to Health Conditions: Foods for healthy bones
“Hello my name is Azmina Govindji, dietitian. I am talking to you today from Horder Healthcare.
Today we are talking about bone health. One in two women and one in five men in the UK aged over 50 will break a bone – largely due to poor bone health.”
Poor bone health can lead to fractures and breakages, often stemming from a diet low in key nutrients and minerals. These problems tend to get worse as you get older, as Azmina goes onto explain.
“Depending on how old you are, as you are sitting watching this video, you are probably not sitting on the same bones you were 5-10 years ago.
Our bones are constantly being broken down and built up. Up until the age of about 20, our bones are getting stronger and stronger, because it is just living tissue.
After the age of 30, you slowly start to lose that strength and women, as they undergo menopause because of hormonal changes, start to lose calcium in their urine.”
“What you eat is really important in terms of protecting your bones.”
– Azmina Govindji
“The first nutrient I am going to talk about is calcium, which you probably have heard about. So, where do we get calcium from? Well, calcium is very rich in dairy foods. You need to have 2 to 3 servings of calcium in a day.
One serving would be, for example, 200ml of milk (a small glass) or a pot of yogurt. And if it is 0% or low-fat milk, that’s fine! It is still just as rich in calcium.
You also get calcium from cheese and roughly a small matchbox size piece of cheese is 30g. So, try to have one of these portions three times a day – and that will give you enough calcium.”
Calcium from non-dairy foods
You also want to make sure you get enough calcium from non-dairy foods, particularly if you don’t or can’t eat dairy products.
Examples of calcium rich, non-dairy foods are:
- Soya alternatives to milk (make sure there is calcium in it by checking the label)
- Leafy vegetables, such as kale, okra, broccoli and cabbage
- White bread and other fortified bread
“It’s really important for you to make use of that calcium; you need to make sure you get adequate vitamin D.”
Vitamin D works with calcium and phosphorus to maintain healthy bones, teeth and muscles. However, it also ensures your bones and cells are able to absorb calcium, which is why it’s important to make sure you are getting enough of both.
Let’s go outside!
“It’s obviously important to be safe in the sun. But we make most of our vitamin D from the action of sunlight on our skin. So, during the months of April to September, expose as much of your skin as possible to the sunlight for around fifteen minutes every day. That will give you enough vitamin D – even for storage in the winter.”
“And look at your shadow. If your shadow is shorter than you, that means there are more UVB rays shining on you, and those are the really potent rays that help you to make vitamin D.”
Stay safe when out and about in the sun; remember to keep your skin protected with a high SPF sun cream, stay hydrated and seek out the shade where you can. Read our previous blog on skin health here.
How to get vitamin D if there is no sunshine
“If we don’t have the sunshine like we have here today, you can also get vitamin D from food.”
Examples of vitamin D rich foods are:
- Fortified margarine spreads and cereals
- Oily fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel.
Other healthy habits for bones
“You want to make sure you are having a variety of foods. But there are other things apart from food that are really important in terms of your bone health.”
Other habits can help keep your bones strong. Research has shown the following help your bones:
- Staying as active as far as you can
- Not smoking
- Keeping to sensible alcohol limits
- Enjoying a varied diet to get the wide range of bone-healthy nutrients
- Including at least five portions of fruit and veg a day
If you are not sure and you think you are at risk of unhealthy or fragile bones, you should speak to your doctor.
At Horder Healthcare, we provide high-quality diagnostic and orthopaedic services across our hospitals and clinics with the very best clinicians. If you would like to be able to speak to a healthcare professional with no waiting list, please contact us today.