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Five Lifestyle & Nutrition Tips for Healthy Bones

24th September 2018

Written for OA Knee Pain by Registered Dietician Nichola Ludlam-Raine. Nichola works as an NHS, freelance and private dietician and has appeared on BBC breakfast a number of times to provide her expert opinion. Here she tells us about the top 10 lifestyle and healthy eating tips for before and after surgery.

Bones are made of a protein, known as collagen, as well as minerals such as calcium. From our mid-thirties our bones start to gradually lose calcium, causing them to thin which can increase the risk of osteoporosis. Keeping your bones healthy is therefore imperative to maintain strength and minimise age-related bone loss. Read on for our top 5 tips on keeping your bones healthy:

1) WEIGHT-BEARING EXERCISE

Walking, running, aerobics and dancing are examples of weight-bearing activities which help to support bone health. You should ideally aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity, five times a week; including weight-bearing activities where possible.

2) EAT A COLOURFUL & BALANCED DIET

A healthy balanced diet including at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables as well as protein and whole-grains with each meal will provide bone-healthy vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc. Healthy sources of protein include lean meat, fish, dairy, tofu, lentils and beans. Healthy whole-grains include wholemeal pasta, wholemeal bread, oats and quinoa.

Example of a healthy day’s diet:

Breakfast: Porridge made with semi-skimmed milk topped with banana & pumpkin seeds

Lunch: Vegetable Soup served with Wholemeal Bread

Evening Meal: Salmon with Jacket Potato and Broccoli

Snacks: Apple with 30g Cheese or 30g Walnuts

Drinks: Tea or Coffee with Milk, no Sugar. Water.

3) CONSUME ENOUGH CALCIUM

Adults should consume at least 700mg of calcium a day. Top sources of calcium include milk (200ml = 240mg calcium), cheese (30g/a match box size = 220mg calcium), yoghurt (120g/a small pot = 200mg), sardine with bones (1/2 tin or 60g = 260mg) and whitebait (50g = 430mg). If you don’t consume dairy make sure that your milk and yoghurts are fortified with calcium (and preferably vitamin D too).

4) TAKE YOUR VITAMIN D

Despite its name, vitamin D is actually a hormone and it’s sunshine, rather than food, that is responsible for helping your body to produce it. Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium into your bones where it is needed and many people may be deficient in it due to a lack of summer sun exposure.

In the UK, all adults should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 mcg of vitamin D, especially during the autumn and winter months. People aged 65 years and over and people with darker skin who are not exposed to much sun should take a supplement all year round.

5) STOP SMOKING

Smoking may increase the risk of low bone density and osteoporosis; stopping smoking is one of the most beneficial things that you can do to prevent further excess bone loss. Ask your nurse of GP for support in quitting.

Written for www.oakneepain.co.uk by Nichola Ludlam-Raine (née Whitehead)

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