Nutritional Therapy:

What happens at a consultation

Calcium in an important mineral that our body requires for many functions including bone health.

Many people think that dairy produce is the best source of calcium and we need to drink pints of milk to keep our bones healthy. However for calcium to enter the bones and teeth requires various other minerals eg boron, magnesium and zinc – which dairy produce is very low in. Also many children and adults can be intolerant to dairy produce or lack the enzymes to break it down properly. So it is not really a good idea to eat lots of dairy produce and milk – moderate these foods and include other calcium rich foods into your diet. Try to eat organic dairy produce where possible as it has less chemicals.

Osteoporosis rarely exists among populations who do not consume any dairy products. In Britain osteoporosis is a large and growing problem, even though we consume large quantities of dairy products.

Your calcium stores in your bones have reached their maximum by the ages of between 35-38 years. So it is vital to avoid calcium depleting lifestyle factors and eat a diet rich in calcium, with foods that are rich in calcium and also other essential nutrients, especially after a women has reached the menopause.

    Calcium rich foods include:
  • Sesame seeds and sesame seed spread (Tahini)
  • Dairy products and goats dairy, cottage cheese, natural yoghurt
  • Nuts and other seeds eg almonds, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds
  • Tofu and soya beans and soya milk,
  • Green leafy vegetables eg spinach, parsley, collard greens, watercress
  • Sardines with bones and salmon with bones
  • Figs and dried fruit
  • Beans and lentils eg chickpeas, haricot beans, mung beans
  • Seaweeds including kelp powder or tablets
    Other foods which support bone health include:
  • A variety of fresh fruit and vegetables including carrots, broccoli, cabbage
  • Goats milk and goats milk products – you can absorb calcium better from goats products than cows milk products
  • Good quality proteins such as beans, lentils, organic meats where possible, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds
  • Phyto-oestrogen rich foods such as fermented soya products, chickpeas and lentils
  • Complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, oats, buckwheat and wholegrain wheat. Millet is an excellent grain for older people as it contains silica, which helps to keep bones supple.
  • Consume healthy fats found in oily fish such as trout, mackerel, salmon, extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, walnut oil, nuts and seeds
  • Home made stocks from bones, seafood shells or vegetable scraps al excellent sources of minerals. Adding a tiny amount of vinegar or wine to the stock while it simmers will drain calcium from the bones or shells into the stock
  • Drink plenty of water each day – try to increase to 8 glasses daily

Many lifestyle factors can negatively affect our bone health and waste calcium.

    Foods and lifestyle factors such as:
  • Too much saturated fats found in dairy produce and meat. Very high protein diets are bad for bone health Junk and processed foods and sugar which are devoid of nutrients such as magnesium, zinc and boron which are needed for bone health
  • Tea, coffee, alcohol and fizzy drinks – these reduce the absorption of vitamins and minerals. Try some herb teas and coffee substitutes instead.
  • Excessive salt intake
  • Heating food in plastic especially in the microwave
  • Stress – hormones produced upset bone health and reduce absorption of calcium – try to reduce stress and practice relaxation techniques
  • Smoking
  • Use of drugs such as steroids, aspirin, antacids – never come off your medication without consulting with your doctor.
  • Aluminum toxicity which can enter our bodies from antacids, aluminum cookware, deodorants.

So you get the picture, especially as you get older – bones will suffer as an acidic diet and lifestyle of junk foods, excess alcohol, fizzy drinks, smoking etc lead to calcium being leached from the bones and not being able to then perform its functions to help maintain our bone health.

    Recommendations for increasing Calcium Absorption:
  • Get sufficient Vitamin D from sunshine
  • Eat calcium, magnesium and mineral rich foods as above such as grains, beans, lentils, leafy green vegetables, green superfood powders, seaweeds
  • Exercise – do some weight bearing exercise such as walking, aerobics, golf, tennis, yoga, pilates and weight resistance exercises to help strengthen your bones and make you feel great!
  • Use oxalic acid foods sparingly eg rhubarb, cranberries, plums, spinach, chard as they bind calcium and calcium and make in unavailable

There are supplements which can help with bone health such as Menopause support formulas, bone support formulas, fish oils - but contact a Nutritional Practitioner for tailored advice.