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.

Vitamin D – should we take supplements?

Vitamin D – should we take supplements?

Its been widely reported in the press that we are recommended to take vitamin D supplements, after studies showed this “sunshine’ vitamin could protect against colds and flu.

Vitamin D

So before you go rushing off to your nearest health food shop I would suggest you first of all have your vitamin D level checked by your GP

Some of the common symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency are:

A true deficiency can only be confirmed by a blood test. But according to the NHS website, symptoms that may show you need a blood test are:

  • Aching bones
  • Having a low mood – vitamin D appears to have an effect on serotonin levels (feel good hormone
  • Being over 50 – the body makes less vitamin D as we age
  • Being overweight or obese – the higher your levels of body fat the more vitamin D is diluted (as it’s a fat soluble vitamin)
  • Having darker skin – it absorbs less of the suns rays
  • Gut troubles – coeliacs, Crohns or IBS can all affect the way the body absorbs fat soluble vitamins
  • People who cover up for cultural or religious reasons
  • Those who spend a lot of time indoors – the elderly and infirm for instance

How important is Vitamin D – What does it do?

The main job of vitamin D is to keep the right amount of calcium and phosphorus in our blood? These 2 nutrients work together to make our bones strong, so they don’t become brittle and break easily. If we don’t have vitamin D in our bodies, only a small amount of the calcium from our diet can be absorbed and only a little more than half of phosphorus is absorbed.

Vitamin D may also be linked to muscle strength, but this link is very recent and more trials and evidence needs to be gathered

Why is Vitamin deficiency so common in the UK?  We don’t absorb enough of the sun rays (overuse of sunblock) and spend a lot of time indoors 

A 2007 survey estimated that around 50% of all adults have some degree of vitamin D deficiency.  The rates of rickets is children has risen fourfold in the last 15 years

Gem news

 

 

Gem 106 radio contacted me this week for my opinion about vitamin D supplements.  Here’s an extract of that interview

 

 

 

Vitamin D supplements, should we take them? 1 minute 30

 

How can we increase our intake of vitamin D?

sunshineFirst and foremost expose your skin to 10-20 minutes of sun a day. – 90% of our vitamin D comes from this source. This has to be without sunscreen, so don’t do this when the sun is at its strongest and be sensible.

Certain foods are also high in vitamin D, including oily fish (such as salmon and sardines), eggs, milk/non dairy milk, orange juice. In the UK, infant formula and fat spreads are fortified with vitamin D. It is also added to other foods such as breakfast cereals, non dairy milks.

If your GP has confirmed you have below average levels of vitamin D, then some simple changes to your diet could be sufficient.  Why not contact me and book a free short consultation and we can get you back on track

07946 301338

Here’s another extract of the GEM106 radio interview, where we discuss food- its only 19 seconds long

 

How soon would we see the benefit?

It can take up to 3 months, depending on how low your levels were

 

Can you have too much?

Yes,  according to the NHS website there is a vitamin D toxicity, which may cause high levels of calcium in the blood and can lead to kidney stones. It can affect some pople.ie Vitamin D supplements plus lots of sun and lots of fortified food, but it is rare.

symptoms (of hypercalcaemia) include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, headaches, weakness or drowsiness

Always check with GP/pharmacist if you want to take supplements as some medical conditions can make you more sensitive to Vitamin D (liver/kidney disease)

 

 

 

Should you go Vegan?

Should you go Vegan?

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

Vegans do not consume any animal products or bi-products.  Obviously that means no meat, fish, dairy and eggs.  For some it also means no honey.  They will also not wear leather or fur

5 reason why its worth considering

1. Vegans and vegetarians generally have a lower BMI (Body Mass Index),  which can lead to a reduced risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

IMG_66442. Eating a more plant based diet means more antioxidants and phytochemicals which help fight free radicals and reduce inflammation; high levels of both could lead to an increase in chronic diseases like arthritis, heart disease and some cancers

3. Getting your 5-a-day.  Nearly two thirds of adults don’t manage to eat their recommended 5 fruits and/or vegetables a day.  These multicoloured powerhouses give us fibre, vitamins and minerals and help to stabilise our blood sugar levels

 

4. Reduced food costs?  A tin of beans costing beans50p has up to 10g of protein.  Buying fruits and veg when in season makes them more affordable they also contain optimum nutrition.  Dried beans and lentils can be bought in bulk.  Frozen fruits and vegetables are nutritionally equal to fresh and are often more convenient. Many fruits and veg can be obtained free of charge from local allotments, friends and family or by growing your own.

5. And we can’t get away from animal welfare, global warming and sustaining the planet.

If you want to take the plunge but don’t know where to start then consider attending my vegan and vegetarian cookery classes that run weekly on most days (except Thursdays) and Tuesday evening

veg cookery poster jpeg

NP media cookery courseThe Nottingham Post online also covered the opening of my cookery school Nottingham Post article

So come along and make something new and nutritious

Contact me on 07946 301338 or susan@nutrition-coach.co.uk

 

 

A vegan diet can be naturally lower in calcium, vitamin D, iron, vitamin B12, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids.  But with some careful meal planning vegans can incorporate these micronutrients into their diet.

Marmite and soya (B12), Mushrooms and sunshine (Vitamin D), Flaxseeds (Omega 3), Green leafy Veg and pulses (Iron), citrus/dried fruits and sesame seeds (calcium) and Tofu, nuts and seeds (*zinc)

Vitamin D was in the media this week; with Public Health England suggesting that everyone should take a supplement in the winter months due to the reduced sunlight.   One of the best ways to obtain this crucial vitamin is to be in the sun for about 10-15 minutes a day without sunscreen. so take a break at lunchtime and go for a quick walk, spend some time in the garden, walk the dog or take the children to the park.  All those activities done without sunscreen for 10 minutes should help your body to make Vitamin D.  After all it’s called the sunshine vitamin! 

* Unrefined grains such as wholemeal bread, pasta and rice, are high in phytates, which can block zinc absorption