Eating to strengthen your bones
IT’S important for women to adopt a balanced diet rich in calcium, vitamin D, and other essential nutrients and engage in weight-bearing exercises to promote and maintain strong bones throughout their lives.
Women are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition characterised by weakened bones that are more prone to fractures. This is partly due to hormonal changes, especially during menopause, which can lead to a decrease in bone density. Other conditions like pregnancy and other hormonal changes can demand extra calcium, and so it is important that women eat to strengthen our bones.
Dietician Claudhia Ashley suggests these tips for eating to strengthen your bones:
Incorporate dairy products like milk, yoghurt, and cheese into your diet. If you’re lactose intolerant, opt for fortified plant-based alternatives like almond milk or fortified orange juice.
Include dark leafy greens like kale, collard greens, and spinach. They’re rich in calcium and other essential nutrients.
Fish with edible bones
Canned salmon and sardines are excellent sources of calcium due to their soft, edible bones.
Look for fortified foods like certain cereals, bread, and tofu. They are often enriched with calcium.
Vitamin D sources
Vitamin D is crucial for calcium absorption. Get it from sources like fatty fish (salmon, mackerel), egg yolk, and fortified dairy or plant-based milk.
Lean protein sources like poultry, lean meats, beans, and lentils provide essential nutrients for bone health.
Fruits and vegetables
These provide various vitamins and minerals essential for overall health, including bone health. Aim for a colourful variety.
Limit caffeine and soda
High caffeine intake and excessive soda consumption can interfere with calcium absorption. Moderation is key.
Magnesium is important for bone health. Incorporate foods like nuts, seeds, whole grains, and leafy greens.
“Women experience hormonal fluctuations throughout their lives, including during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. These hormonal changes can impact bone health, making it important to have strong bones as a foundation,” said Ashley. “Also, women tend to live longer than men on average. As they age, the risk of osteoporosis and related fractures increases. Strengthening bones early in life can help mitigate this risk.”