Maintaining strong bones

Hello Diana, I am in my late 50’s and anxious to keep my body strong and healthy. What natural ways do you recommend to help me maintain good bones and prevent the thinning bone disease osteoporosis?  Melonie Neville Plymouth

 Hi Melanie,

Osteoporosis is a silent insidious bone disease linked to hormonal changes and the menopause in women. It affects 1 – 3 older women, but also 1 – 12 men after the age of 60 leading to possible fractures of the wrists, hips and spine, backache and loss of height.  Osteoporosis can be prevented in many cases and is not “just getting old” as was previously assumed! Smoking increases the risk, as does a deficiency of calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is essential for the development and maintenance of strong teeth and bones.  Rich sources of calcium are milk, cheese, yoghurt and other dairy produce, and also fish such as sardine and pilchards.  Importantly for vegetarians, leafy green vegetables including spinach, kale and broccoli, and nuts, dried fruit, dates, prunes, raisins and figs, kidney beans, lentils and baked beans are alternate sources of calcium.

A regular intake of calcium throughout our lifetime together with vitamin D will help prevent osteoporosis. Vitamin D helps regulate the way our bodies use the calcium and ensures our bones remain strong. It is obtained by the action of sunlight on our skin (a recommended 15 mins a day), or taken alternatively as a daily capsule of cod liver oil or prescribed calcium plus vitamin D tablet.