Bone up on calcium

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

Why should you care about the amount of calcium in your diet?

There is more calcium in the body than any other mineral and it has several important functions.images

These include:

  • helping build strong bones and teeth
  • regulating muscle contractions, including heartbeat
  • ensuring blood clots normally
  • helps in a the absorption of vitamin B12, needed for a healthy nervous system

logoTry this handy calcium calculator  to work out your weekly calcium intake.  If its low just incorporate more of the food below into your daily diet

This week the National Osteoporosis Society issued a press notice with this headline


dairyDoes it make you think, are you concerned about your child as they head off too university, move in to their first flat.  Are they confused about what makes a healthy balanced diet, are they concerned about their weight and have tried fad diets or cut out food groups like dairy?

If the answers yes then maybe read on

Good sources of calcium include:

  • IMG_2210milk, cheese and other dairy foods
  • green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage and okra
  • soya beans, tofu and chickpeas
  • soya or other non- dairy drinks and yoghurts with added calcium
  • nuts (especially almonds), tahini and sesame seeds
  • bread and food made with fortified flourmixed nuts
  • fish where you eat the bones, such as sardines and salmon
  • Fresh citrus fruits or calcium fortified orange juice
  • Dried figs – about 6


If you are concerned about your calcium (or vitamin D levels, for that matter) then maybe come and see me for a nutrition session.  Call me on 07946 301338

Cancer research UK has stated that dairy products (and non dairy alternatives) are high in calcium, and several studies show a lower risk of breast cancer for women with high calcium intakes or calcium blood levels.

calcium radio nottmBBC Radio Nottingham were also keen to explore this issue and asked me on to the Mark Dennison breakfast show.  Here’s a clip of the interview


It is important to make sure your children especially your daughters eat plenty of foods IMG_4234high in calcium so they have good bone density throughout their teens. It is thought that 1 in 10 teenage girls have very low intakes of calcium. By age 20, the amount of bone is at its greatest (called the peak bone mass), and then it slowly but steadily decreases. So, if not enough calcium is taken in during this critical period, less is available in the bones for the rest of life.  Encourage your children to drink and eat dairy and non- dairy alternatives; even low fat if its gets them to eat them!

Calcium friends

Vitamin D – Your body needs vitamin D to help it absorb calcium. It is found in oily fish, liver, fortified spreads and cereals, and egg yolks. Your body also makes its own vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunshine (without sunscreen).

Be active – doing weight bearing exercise like walking, running, dancing, lifting weights and skipping are all good activities to strengthen bones

Magnesium – calcium needs magnesium to aid absorption so eat plenty of green leafy veg, brown rice and nuts

Vitamin K2 – works in conjunction with calcium and vitamin D to keep your bones and heart healthy; found in offal, egg yolks and dairy products

Calcium foes

cola-drinksCoal drinks – Women who drink too many cola type fizzy drinks could have an increased risk of osteoporosis and fractures, because the phosphoric acid in these drinks has the potential to weaken bones. If the drinks also contain caffeine it could affect how much calcium is much absorbed in the body

Protein – Too much protein like read meat and poultry can drain the body of calcium

Salt – If you have a high salt diet, you will excrete a lot of sodium and with it a lot of calcium.  People who consume too much sodium  could face an increased risk of kidney stones.

Eat right for good skin

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

How foods can help your skin, hair and nails to look their best.


These are the only type of nut that have a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids. imagesThey’re also rich in biotin and vitamin E, which helps protect your cells from DNA damage. Too little biotin can lead to hair loss. Walnuts also have copper, a mineral that helps keep your natural hair color rich and lustrous. Walnuts are also great for the skin the essential fatty acids can act as a barrier and also hold water, making the skin appear plumper and younger.

Sprinkle walnuts on to your muesli, have a refreshing Waldorf salad with pears and a small amount of blue cheese or dry toast a tablespoon full and scatter over a tomato pasta dish

Oily fish

Oily fish are rich in protein and vitamin D – both are key to strong hair and bright skin.  But the omega-3 fatty acids found in herring, salmon, sardines, trout and mackerel are the real stars, because your body can’t make those fatty acids; which it needs to grow hair and new cells. Omega-3s are also found in cell membranes in your skin and scalp and in the natural oils that keep your scalp and hair hydrated.

If you are vegetarian do not despair you have the wonderful walnut (see above) as well as avocados, pumpkin and flax seeds


BEAUTY article



The very subject of how food can promote a healthy skin has been featured in ‘Nottingham Local Magazine’, a piece co-written with Misia Smith of Soothe Therapies




Dairy Products

IMG_4234One the most important components of skin health is vitamin A. One of the best places to get it is dairy products. If you are vegan oat milk contains this useful vitamin. Have a vitamin packed milk/yoghurt shake using skimmed milk or yoghurt with your favourite fruit.  Skyr is a great protein rich yoghurt, give it a try if you haven’t done so already

Another chief source of Vitamin A (beta carotene) are carrots, which can be juiced and blended into a smoothie, as well as numerous other culinary ways.

 Fruit and veg

fruit and vegBlueberries, blackberries, strawberries plums, broccoli, peppers etc are all packed with healthy antioxidants.  They mop up free radicals – produced for example when you have sun exposure.  Add these fruits to your cereals, or bake into a crumble made with a healthy selenium packed oaty topping.  Or add the veggies to a pasta sauce and serve with wholemeal pasta and some grated cheese


Healthy oilsimages

As well as essential fatty acids, eating good-quality oils helps keep you skin lubricated and keeps it looking and feeling healthier overall.  The less processed the oil is the better so look for ‘cold pressed’ versions like extra virgin olive oil

But please bear in mind that all fats, even a healthy one, are high in calories, so consume no more than about two tablespoons a day (about 260 calories!).

Brazil nuts, whole-wheat bread and cereals, turkey and tuna.

IMG_5123All of the above contain helpful amounts of the mineral selenium.  It plays a vital role in the health of skin cells. Some studies show that even skin damaged by the sun may suffer fewer consequences if selenium levels are high.

Just 3 Brazil nuts a day will give you your total Selenium requirement.


Green Tea.

Green tea is in a league of its own when it comes to beneficial skin-health properties. It has anti-inflammatory properties, and offers protection to cell membranes. Green tea can also reduce the risk of damage from ultraviolet light that you could get from the suns rays.


IMG_3503Water has a vital role in skin hydration; keeping it looking healthy and even younger.  The recommendation is to drink about eight glasses (2 litres) every day.  In addition to keeping cells hydrated, water helps cells move nutrients in and toxins out, which will automatically leave skin looking better.

When you are properly hydrated, you also sweat more efficiently. Doing this helps keep skin clean and clear as well.


IMG_5651Avocado’s are a great food for the body they contain monosaturated fat which means they also contain Vitamin E (along with Vitamins B and K), which is great for skin tone it also is known to slow the aging process.  The fat in avocados can also lessen your LDL cholesterol (the bad sort!).  Half an avocado contains 180 calories and is great in a salad or blitz into a dip with chillies, lime juice and coriander. Or serve avocado o sourdough toast, topped with a poached egg; delish!

Beauty Tip:

Don’t throw away the avocado skin; turn it inside out and rub it on your face and hands.  Don’t worry you will look like Shrek but it will be worth it.  Leave to do its magic for 5 minutes then rinse off with warm water.  The vitamin E that is at its most concentrated just under the skin of the avocado will make your skin looks hydrated, plump and soft


WholegrainsAs well as fibre for slow releasing energy, wholegrains also contain a powerful antioxidant called Coenzyme Q10. Its involved in making energy and helping our cells work effectively. CoQ10 is also found in oily fish and liver.



Red blood cells are replaced every four months, skin in 30 days, and the lining of the small intestine renews in less than a week! Each day the body replaces  a total of 50 to 70 billion cells. Inflammation in the body can play a part in how effective cell renewal is.

Eating a ‘rainbow of colour’ is the key to effective cell renewal

  • Incorporate plenty of red, orange and green fruits and vegetables i.e. asparagus, pomegranates, broccoli, berries, apples, herbs.
  • In addition mushrooms, ginger, seeds and seafood are also beneficial

 Do you have a beauty regime based around food? 

Nottm local mag

And don’t forget the full article can be read in this months Nottingham Local Magazine