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.


Endometriosis and how diet may help

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website


It-ok-to-talk-facebook-banner-smallYesterday was the start of Endometriosis Awareness Week. If you have endometriosis it is important to consider your diet and lifestyle when tackling your condition. What you eat affects how you feel, and including or excluding certain foods may help to relieve many of the symptoms. Some foods are good at naturally controlling hormones, which play a key role in endometriosis symptoms. Other foods are great at boosting your immune system or reducing inflamation. Whilst certain foods may also have a negative effect, triggering symptoms.


Try and eat:


As well as helping you to keep fuller for longer soluble fibre helps the body to naturally expel hormones. Top foods that are rich in fibre include:

IMG_3701Apples, pears, plums, citrus fruits, beans, lentils, peas, oats, quinoa, whole grain foods, chia seeds, flax seeds and nuts. Try and aim for 24gs of fibre a day; i.e. bran cereal or oats with some raspberries and a teaspoon of chia seeds, a handful of almonds as an snack with an orange, wholemeal sandwich for lunch, an apple for an afternoon snack and a vegetable stir fry with brown rice for your evening meal


Omega 3 and 6 Essential fatty acids (EFAs)

EFAs help to control inflammation, contribute to helpful prostaglandin production, which can help with pain and may help to relieve endometriosis symptoms. Foods rich in essential fatty acids are:

IMG_2578oily fish, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and walnuts. The nuts and seeds can be added to your muesli in the morning. And grilled salmon is the perfect healthy supper dish

Vitamins and minerals

A healthy liver is crucial for good hormone balance, as the liver detoxifies chemicals and waste products including excess hormones. To help do that it needs plenty of vitamins and minerals, particularly B vitamins and antioxidants (vitamins A,C & E). As well as the liver, these

Fruit and veg

Fruit and veg

nutrients will also support the immune system. Try and include these foods in your diet: red, green and orange fruits and veg, citrus fruits, blackcurrants, kiwi fruit, blackberries, peppers, broccoli, sweet potatoes, vegetable oils, nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, seeds like pumpkin and sunflower. Green leafy veg like spinach, kale, chard, and broccoli. Fortified cereals, margarine, dairy, eggs and marmite. Using all the vegetables to make a warming soup is a great way to make sure you get plenty of vitamins and antioxidants.


Eating iron-rich foods will help replace iron that may be lost through heavy periods, and help reduce tiredness and fatigue

IMG_0711To ensure you’re getting enough iron in your diet, try to include more of the following foods:

  • dark green leafy vegetables like cabbage, kale, spinach, watercress
  • broccoli, beetroot, meat, fish, eggs, tofu, beans and pulses, nuts and seeds, iron-fortified cereals or bread, brown rice.

For the body to absorb plant based iron you will need to eat it with foods rich in vitamin C, such as peppers and fruits. Bubble and squeak is a great way to add green leafy veg in to your diet. Its great topped with a poached egg for even more iron


Try and limit

These are foods that may trigger or aggravate your condition.


Processed foods

IMG_3932Some processed foods may contain certain additives and preservatives that may result in inflammation. They may also be high in saturated or trans fats that could again lead to inflammation. Take time to read the ingredients list and look at the traffic light guidance before you decide to purchase soft drinks, sugary foods, ready meals and snacks, fried foods, smoked and processed meats, baked goods and white flour



IMG_4234Full fat dairy products are relatively high in saturated fats and as with processed foods may increase inflammation, Low fat options may be a better choice – although they may have higher sugar content. Or stick with full fat but just have smaller portions. You may decide to reduce your dairy intake, so opt for calcium enriched non dairy milks and yoghurts like soya, oat or almond




It is not yet fully understood why some people with endometriosis are also gluten sensitive. If you are affected try limiting your intake and eating naturally gluten-free options such as wild rice, quinoa and sweet potato to see if there is an improvement.


Other foods may trigger your symptoms

IMG_5040Alcohol – has an inflammatory response in the body as well as affecting vitamin D levels in the liver.

Red meat – can be difficult to digest , and like dairy is inflammatory

Caffeine – Can increase menstrual pain and oestrogen levels.

Soya – in some women the high levels of phyto-oestrogens can trigger endometriosis symptoms.


If you would like help and support to tackle your symptoms then please con take me for a free 20 minute consultation

07946 301338