Nutrition and Bone Health

Healthy Eating for Good Bone Health

Eating a balanced diet is essential for physical health and mental wellbeing. The Eatwell plate demonstrates the different food groups, and the proportions that we should consume for a balanced and healthy diet. Eating a variety of foods, that includes many nutrients, helps to support bone health. You should eat a variety of foods from the four main food groups; fruit and vegetables, carbohydrates, protein and dairy. 

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Why is Calcium so Important?

Calcium is important at all ages for strong bones and teeth. You should eat 2-3 portions of dairy foods which are rich in calcium. A portion is 200ml of milk, 30g of cheese (a small matchbox), 150ml yoghurt or milk-based dessert such as rice pudding. An ideal calcium intake for adults is between

700mg to 1000mg a day, which can be achieved through eating the recommended 2-3 portions a day.  

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Why is Vitamin D so Important?

Most of our vitamin D is made by the action of sunlight on the skin. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium from foods for healthy bones and teeth. Even if you have a calcium-rich diet (for example from eating plenty of dairy foods and green leafy vegetables), without enough vitamin D you cannot absorb the calcium into your bones and cells where it is needed. 

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What Should I Eat During the Menopause for Good Bone Health?

During the menopause, oestrogen levels decrease. This results in increased loss of calcium from the bone, which in the long term can lead to weak bones in some women. Some women may be prescribed calcium and/or vitamin D supplements during the menopause and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) containing oestrogen which can support bone health. 

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How Can Diet Help to Prevent Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis?

By adopting a healthy diet that reflects the Eatwell plate we can build strong bones. Around the age of 35, both men and women start to slowly loose calcium from the bone, resulting in bone thinning.  The menopause results in further calcium losses, which places older women at increased risk of osteoporosis. 

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How Can Diet Help to Manage Osteoporosis?

Eating a healthy diet, that follows the Eatwell plate, and includes 2-3 portions of dairy foods a day will help to support your bone health. Being underweight (Body Mass Index (BMI) under 18.5kg/m²) increases your risk of osteoporosis. 

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How Can Diet Help to Manage Osteoarthritis?

The most important relationship between diet and osteoarthritis is weight. Excess body weight is not good for joint health. If you are overweight or obese, then losing some weight will help to take the strain off your knees, hips, feet and lower back, and improve your overall physical health and mobility.

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