Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Dem Bones Dem Bones Dem Dry Bones

April 7, 2013 by Ange  

Sardines and plenty of greens = perfect bone-mending food

Sardines and plenty of greens = perfect bone-mending food

A client wrote to me today to say he’s just broken a bone in his foot and what should he be eating to help it mend.

Of course he’s already on a whole food, well balanced diet…..he’s one of my clients after all. I’d coached him on upping protein at breakfast, so he now enjoys salmon or eggs based breakfast and when he’s in a rush, he uses a whey=based protein shake with seeds and berries. He’s following my optimal balance plate for lunch 25%-30% is a protein source, 50% is vegetables the rest is a starchy carb or whole grain, he’s found his concentration, focus and energy are now better through the day and he has far fewer cravings when he has a shitty day (his goals ticked).

With these foundations in place, we know he’s in a strong position to help those bones mend, but what else do we need to think about?

Bones are living tissues in a constant cycle of breaking down and re-building and that all needs to work a lot harder when there is a broken bone to mend. Most people think of calcium when it comes to bone, and for sure Calcium is integral to the hydroxyapatite crystals that form the main structure of bone tissue. At birth we only have about 2-3% of our adult calcium stores so dietary intake of calcium is vital, the calcium is accumulated into bone mineral so that we achieve peak bone mass between age 17 and 30; maintaining this through life is vital to healthy bones.

But calcium isn’t a vulnerable mineral in male adult diets, even for someone on a typical British diet (let alone after I’ve got my hands on them) so its unlikely that he need to address his calcium ‘intake’. And by the way, if he did, dairy foods isn’t the only answer, there is more calcium in a cup of cooked butter beans or broccoli than in 30g feta cheese or half a cup of yogurt and a can of sardines contain more calcium than a glass of milk.

What’s much more important is how we are able to use the calcium and this is where vitamin D and magnesium come into their own, which ARE vulnerable nutrients as measured in the Government survey National Diet & Nutrition Survey. The evidence is very solid that vitamin D levels over 75nmol/L optimise bone mineral density…..most people I see have a vitamin D level below 50nmol/L (this is too easy to test if your GP wont, and relatively inexpensive (£20) via City Hospital Birmingham home test http://www.vitamindtest.org.uk/ )

Eating more vegetables and fruit is associated with bone health, part of this is to do with acid alkaline balance, calcium along with magnesium & potassium are the minerals used as a ‘buffer’ of acidity; Eating a plant based diet increases the buffering minerals so less calcium needs to be pulled out of the bones. Vegetables & fruits are also high in vitamin C, vital for collagen hydroxylation.

Vitamin K plays an important role, we have 3 proteins involved in bone health and mineralisation that all rely on this vitamin.  We don’t store vitamin K so dietary intake is vital thorough leafy green vegetables and olive oil.

Finally, whenever there is injury in the body we have inflammation and oxidative stress to contend with, its all part of the healing process, but we can help ensure his body has the right tools for the job, increasing berry fruits, using turmeric, garlic and ginger

So, what’s my advice to my client?

  • Continue with optimal healthy plate ratio
  • Switch salmon to sardines
  • 2 servings of leafy green vegetables a day
  • Use my turmeric, garlic & ginger based dressing on vegetables & salads
  • Portion of berry fruits each day (vitamin C and bioflavonoids)
  • Increase sun exposure (easy for me to say that living in Spain!)
  • Check vitamin D levels (we do this routinely in my clinic) and make sure they are approaching 100nmol/L

My approach is always to start with foods and use supplements as a top up: in this case we are going to use a hydrolysed collagen formula to help support collagen, key to his healing, we will also increase vitamin D, he’s already on a solid multi which contains excellent levels of calcium, magnesium and vitamin K. And we will add in some anti-inflammation support via fish oils and a proteolytic enzyme to help boost the healing process and minimise the scar tissue.

Are you lagging in the energy department? Then come to one of my workshops. Find out more https://www.facebook.com/events/346784242089216/ or email clinic@fabulousnutrition.co.uk

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