In some ways, we train to combat the inevitable signs of ageing that will hit us all eventually. We try to live as healthily as we can when we are younger so that we have a better chance of living long into our elderly years. But somethings come naturally with age. One of those things that we just can’t prevent is a weakening of the bones.
When we are talking about work in the gym and in the kitchen it can sometimes seem like we are preoccupied with muscle growth and we forget that underneath all our muscles is the thing that supports every single one of us: our skeleton. So looking after our bones is just as important as looking after our muscles!
Of all the calcium in our body, well over 95% of it can be found in our bones. And because by the time you hit your early twenties you will have the bones that need to last you until the day you die, it is important that you start as early as possible in helping to develop the strongest possible frame.
Bone isn’t muscle. That’s pretty obvious. But what that means is that you can’t grow your bones back. In that way they are probably the most important part of our body! Most people know that calcium is essential for proper bone health and more and more people are realising that vitamin D is also essential in order for our bodies to be able to absorb the calcium. That means that our nutritional programmes need to contain sufficient quantities of both in order to maintain sound bone health.
Too much calcium is a thing though. Sometimes people hear that they need more of a particular nutrient so they choose to go overboard and try to take on as much as is humanly possible. This isn’t about making up for mistakes that we might have made in the past, it is about creating a positive lifestyle for the future.
When people hear calcium they think milk, right? And you would be silly not to. But depending on the milk you drink, you might be taking on an awful lot of fat to meet your calcium requirements. So consider looking at low fat alternatives. This can either be low fat milk or completely different products all together. Low fat yogurts are a great source of calcium and can be picked up at any supermarket very cheaply. What’s better is that it tastes great and can act as a brilliant milk replacement on your cereal.
I think most of us naturally assume dairy is the answer but there are other calcium-rich foods out there too. Some cereals will come calcium-fortified, which means that it has been specifically added for people looking to increase their calcium consumption. Sesame seeds are also a life saver when it comes to calcium. Not only are they rich in the nutrient but they are so easy to add to so many meals. Any salad is instantly given a flavour boost and a calcium boost when they are sprinkled on top.
As with isolating any individual nutrient, the best thing you can do is take a look at the nutrition labels and get to know what foods are the best for each type of nutrient. It might sound time consuming but you get the hang of it in no time at all and it revolutionises the way you think about food.