Better bones! Your guide to bone health and how to get it…

As we ladies go through our 40’s, 50’s and beyond, the fluctuation and decline of our oestrogen has many and far reaching effects on our health, one part of this being on our bone health.

Our bodies like oestrogen. We get used to it’s anti inflammatory presence and rather likes its weight regulating, insulin controlling, bone strengthening, cholesterol checking impact. As science writer Natalie Angier suggests, “Oestrogen is like chocolate.. Rare and mutant is the human who hates chocolate and by the same token, very few parts of the body hate or ignore oestrogen”. So when we have to wave goodbye to decent oestrogen levels as we go through menopause, it’s rather like missing an old friend.

Bone density is one of the areas that we need to consider during this time in a bid to avoid thin and brittle bones or osteoporosis (meaning porous bone) after we lose protective oestrogen.

One of the main drivers of poor bone health as we age is inflammation. Unsurprisingly, oestrogen helped protect us from this too. So what can we do to reduce our inflammation and support our bones?

  • Focus on a Mediterranean style diet, which has been shown to be anti-inflammatory. This includes eating lots of different vegetables and fruits every day. It also focuses on foods containing omega 3 fatty acids such as oily fish, walnuts and flaxseeds. Include wholegrains, beans and legumes and olive oil but avoid processed foods, refined carbohydrates, added sugars and excessive alcohol.

  • Keep your insulin levels low because insulin resistance increases fracture risk and a high sugar or refined carbohydrate diet that raises insulin levels, is also inflammatory

  • Build muscle, which helps support healthy bone remodeling. By strengthening muscle, you strengthen bones. Lifting weights and doing plenty of weight bearing exercise like squats and lunges is fantastic.

  • Get enough sleep! We know sleep is good for nearly every area of health, and our bones are no exception.

  • Protein – this is so important. We need to be in an anabolic state to build bone rather than a catabolic state, which is about breaking things down. To do this, protein is essential. Aim to include a good portion of protein at every meal, for example, 2 -3 eggs, meat or fish, yoghurt or some really good amounts of beans, legumes, nuts or seeds.

  • Calcium: We need around 800-1000mg calcium daily, not too much more and not too much less! Good sources of calcium include sardines (bones in), sesame or poppy seeds, yoghurt, almonds, dark green leafy vegetables and cheese.
  • Vitamin D: If you live in the UK, you can pretty much bet that you will be vitamin D deficient during the winter months, when the sun is too low for vitamin D to be made by the skin. Vitamin D is needed to help calcium absorption.
  • Vitamin K2: This nutrient helps direct the calcium to the bones (and away from the arteries).
  • Magnesium: Contributes to increased bone density. This can be found in dark chocolate 🙂 dark green leafy vegetables, wholegrains and nuts.

There is so much that can be done to support healthy bones, these are just the starting blocks but if you’d like more personalised help with your bone health or menopausal journey please do send me an email or book in for a complimentary phone call, I’d love to work with you!