Bone up on calcium

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

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.

Spaghetti with lentil pasta sauce

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

Spaghetti with lentil pasta sauce – Serves 4

This dish is packed with good stuff – low fat protein, vitamin A and  B complex, fibre, low releasing carbs and calcium to name but a few.  if you want to further cut the carbs and increase the fibre and vitamins then substitute the wholewheat spaghetti for Sweet potato spaghetti made on a spiraliser or ribbon sweat potato using a potato peeler

 

1 tbsp olive oil

IMG_19141 onion, finely chopped or ½ a leek

2 carrots, finely chopped

2 celery sticks, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 red pepper, chopped

250g of dried red lentils

1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp tomato puréelentils

2 tsp each dried mixed herbs

1 bay leaf

½ tsp dried chilli flakes

Salt and pepper

500 ml vegetable stock

500g  wholemeal spaghetti,

Vegetarian or vegan hard cheese, grated to serve

 

IMG_3853Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onions, carrots, celery, pepper and garlic. Cook on a low heat for 15-20 mins until all the veg are soft. Stir in the lentils, chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, mixed herbs, chilli flakes, bayleaf and stock. Simmer for 40-50 mins until the lentils are tender and break apart – Add some water to the pan if the sauce gets too dry. Season with S&P.

 

 

 

 

Keep on a low heat while you cook the spaghetti, following pack instructions, or blanch the sweet potato spaghetti in hot water for 2-3 spiraliserminutes. Drain well, divide between two pasta bowls, spoon sauce over the top and add a small amount of grated cheese.images

 

 

 

 

 

So which do you prefer wholewheat pasta spaghetti or sweet potato spaghetti?!!