1) Take regular exercise.
Every time our feet make contact with the floor, tiny fractures are created throughout the bone, and this damage triggers the body to repair the bone, thus increasing bone density. Those with a sedentary lifestyle are at greater risk of developing osteoporosis and sustaining fractures. The best forms of exercise for bone strengthening are walking, running, tennis, squash, football – any form of exercise where your feet hit the ground.
2) Stop drinking fizzy drinks!
Chemicals within fizzy drinks cause the body to excrete calcium via urine which leads to a reduction in bone density. This is especially important for teenage girls. Bone density reaches its peak at the age of 30 and then declines. To have an optimal bone density at 30, a good diet must have preceded this. Girls who are consuming fizzy drinks on a regular basis will be increasing the likelihood of developing osteoporosis later in life.
3) Make sure you are not Vitamin D deficient.
There is a big link between Vitamin D deficiency and osteoporosis, as the body requires good Vitamin D levels to absorb calcium into the bones. In the UK, we can only make Vitamin D from sun exposure between May and September. The NHS recommends that pregnant women, babies from 6 months up to the age of 5 and those over 65 should take a supplement, but you can ask your GP to test you if you feel you might be deficient
4) Cut back on caffeine.
Caffeine causes the body to excrete calcium, so an excess of tea, coffee, cola and chocolate could be reducing your bone density
5) Eat foods that are rich in calcium, every day.
It’s not only dairy products that are a good source of calcium, oily fish (especially sardines with their bones), dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, green beans, figs, tofu, chickpeas, soya beans, almonds and sesame seeds are also great sources
6) Eat a wide range of foods.
Calcium is not the only important nutrient for your bones. Magnesium (found in nuts, seeds, dark green leafy veg), Boron (found in chickpeas, avocadoes, almonds, bananas), Chromium (found in whole grains), Zinc (found in protein, nuts and seeds) are all important nutrients, as well as Vitamin C (found in all fruit and vegetables, but particularly high in berries, peppers and kiwis)
7) Cut down on alcohol consumption.
Alcohol decreases the activity of bone-building cells and encourages the depletion of calcium, magnesium and zinc. You are also more likely to fall if you’ve had too much!
8) Reduce your sugar intake.
Like caffeine, sugar encourages the body to excrete calcium, thus reducing the nutrient supply for strong bones.
9) Avoid drinking tea with your meals.
Tea contains tannins which block the absorption of minerals from your food. Only drink tea one hour before or after food
10) Eat an alkaline diet rather than an acidic diet.
This basically means eat plenty of fruit and veg which are alkaline, and eat less acid forming foods (sugar, red meat, dairy products, eggs, wheat, oats and rice)
This article was written by Emily Fawell, DipION, a fully qualified Nutritional Therapist based in Ealing.