Vegetarians, eat enough calcium and vitamin D
Vegetarians who eat only raw plant-derived foods have abnormally low bone mass, usually an early sign of bone-thinning diseases like osteoporosis, American researchers have found. The researchers found that the vegetarians’ intake of calcium and vitamin D was particularly low.
Make sure you include 1 000 to 1 300 milligrams of calcium and 5 micrograms of vitamin D in your diet every day. If you’re not including milk or milk products in your diet, you’ll have to get your daily calcium and vitamin D dose in tablet form. Generally, plant-based foods aren't significant sources. For this reason, extreme raw-food vegetarian diets are not recommended.
Beef up your bones with iron
It's widely known that calcium helps build strong bones. But according to experts from Tufts University in the US, iron is another important nutrient associated with bone health. It helps produce an integral component of bone called collagen.
Experts recommend 18 mg of iron a day to improve bone mineral density. Get your daily dose by eatingthrough iron-rich foods, like meat, liver, legumes, fortified cereals and green, leafy vegetables. Speak to your doctor about iron supplementation if you think you're not getting enough of the mineral through your diet. Also note that iron is only effective in bone building when the recommended 800-1200 mg of calcium are consumed as well.
Pilchards: a wonder food
Did you know that pilchards are a great source of calcium? Boost your bone health by including this economic food in your diet.
Whether you eat canned pilchards whole or crush them into smaller bits to use in sauces, never throw the bones away. Canned pilchard bones are already so soft that they won't pose a threat to your health. Pilchards are also a source of magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin D, micronutrients that are necessary for the absorption of calcium. Replace meat dishes once or twice a week with pilchard dishes. Pilchards make great meat substitutes in pancakes, pastas, sandwiches and pies.
Walk your way to healthier bones
Don't dismiss walking. It can provide enormous health benefits such as strengthening your bones. But to maximise the benefits you get from it, make sure that your walking technique is up to scratch.
Keep your head up, eyes looking forward and focused ahead; ensure your back is straight, but relaxed; “zip up” your abdominals and squeeze in your gluteal (butt) muscles – this will help you to maintain a straight back; keep your chest out, your shoulders back, down and relaxed; let your arms, which are bent at the elbows, swing naturally from the shoulders; your foot strike action is important – after you land on the outer side of your heel, your foot rolls inwards, which is essential for adequate shock absorption; beware of pounding your heels down when walking briskly – this generates unnecessary force on your joints.