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.

Super sauerkraut

Fermented food – Super sauerkraut

Food Trends for 2017A few weeks ago I speculated what the 2017 food trends might be; one of them was fermented food.  I’m really hoping to see more of this type of food in restaurants and cafes.  But why is fermented food good for us? Because it contains probiotics or  the ‘good’ bacteria, which can help maximise our digestion, boost our immune system, help the body to eliminate toxins and maintain good gut health. Fermented foods are also rich in nutrients but especially vitamin K2, which works with Vitamin D and calcium for healthy bones, blood and muscles. It is estimated that 80% of your immune system is located in your gut.

Fermentation takes place in the absence of oxygen and nearly any food can be fermented. It just needs liquid, occasionally salt and a storage jar.

sourdoughExamples of fermented food apart from the well known super sauerkraut are sourdough bread, beer, salami, yoghurt, curd cheese, miso, kefir (fermented milk drink), natto (fermented soya beans), pickles, jam and cider.  However if you can I would try and make your own fermented foods because commercial varieties are usually subjected to pasteurisation, which could destroy many of the probiotic process

If we want to encourage the growth of more good bacteria in our bodies, then it makes sense to feed them so they grow and flourish.  That’s where prebiotic’s come in.  They are fibre rich non-digestible nutrients like inulin that probiotics feed on.  Some everyday natural prebiotics that you can add to your daily diets are onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, chicory, bananas

Why not start with some simple and speedy sauerkraut?

Homemade Super Sauerkraut

320 – 350 g cabbage, ½ – 1 tsp sea salt, ½ tsp caraway or fennel seeds, I sterilised jar and lid

IMG_9803Save the outer leaves of the cabbage, remove core and finely slice or grate the cabbage. Add to a large bow and sprinkle in the salt. Using your hands start to mix and squeeze the cabbage, do this for about 10 minutes. Gradually the cabbage will become watery and limp. Add the seeds and mix again.

 

Here are two short video clips showing how speedy the process is

 

Transfer the cabbage mix (including the liquid) to a clean jar, and really press the cabbage in, using the back of a spoon, rolling pin or pestle. When you can get no more in, place one of the larger outer leaves of the cabbage over the surface of the sliced cabbage. This will help keep the cabbage submerged in its *liquid. Add a lid, and place on a saucer and store in cool cupboard or room (not the fridge at this stage) and out of direct sunlight.

*The cabbage must be submerged in liquid at all times

IMG_9807Over the next 3 – 10 days remove the lid and leaf and everyday keep pressing the cabbage down to make sure it is submerged. Add additional water to cover the cabbage if necessary. When you are happy with the taste place the jar in the fridge, as it is ready to eat.  As the contents reduce you can just keep repeating the process and fill the jar

Remove any white scum or mould (if it appears) and the sauerkraut can be kept for several months

fermented

 

 

Last week my cookery school guests also make sauerkraut.  They thought it was a very therapeutic process