Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bone Friendly Foods!

Prevent Bone Fractures with optimal dietary choices including Vitamin D, Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin K, Vegetarian Protein predominating, Low Sodium and Exercise!

In Illinois researchers randomly assigned 5,000 female Navy recruits at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center to receive either a placebo or Vitamin D (800 IU) plus calcium (2,000 mg) daily during basic training. After 8 weeks, 6.6 percent of the placebo takers had stress fractures compared to 5.3 percent of the calcium-plus-D takers; that is a significant 20 percent difference.

KEY: Make sure you are receiving enough calcium and D daily to help prevent fractures as well as doing weight bearing exercise (e.g., running, walking, dancing, weight lifting) most days, aim for 30 to 45 minutes of exercise 4 to 6 days per week. Have 1,200 mg a day of calcium and 1,000 IU a day of Vitamin D.

Calcium Sources: Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Caviar, Cheese, Kelp, Milk, Cottage Cheese, Ricotta Cheese (lower in sodium than cottage cheese, great on toast with cinnamon), Molasses,Canned Salmon, Canned Sardines, Shrimp, Soybeans, Tofu, Turnip Greens, Yogurt (Greek zero percent or two percent is great, get your protein and calcium without the sugar).

Vitamin D Sources: The best way to get your vitamin D is being out in the sunlight for 15 to 20 minutes a day, the ergosterol underneath our skin converts to vitamin D, stimulated by the ultra-violet rays. Not to worry, you can still wear your sunscreen to protect yourself from getting cancer and get your vitamin D formed. Even the best sunscreen cannot block all UV radiation. The amount that does hit the skin is enough to promote adequate vitamin D formation.

Smokers actually have some healthy habits; I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but they take time to give themselves a break throughout the day to go outside, get some sunshine and take some deep breaths. They just need to seriously learn to do all that without the cigarettes. However, we can learn from the smokers and set a good example for them by doing what they do without the cigarette and get our vitamin D. Let's take our breaks outside for phone calls, eating our snacks/meals, meditating breaks or just taking a few deep breaths and appreciating our surroundings.

Food sources of Vitamin D, include Cod-liver oil, Herring, Mackerel, Salmon (choose Wild whenever possible), Sardines, and Vitamin-D-fortified milk.

A Great Calcium Supplement that also has Vitamin D, Magnesium, and Vitamin K is Phytotherapy Liquid Calcium Softgels, available at Whole Foods.

Magnesium and Vitamin K are also important to maintain bone mineral density!

Magnesium Sources Include: Almonds, Cod, Halibut, Swordfish (is not kosher), Leafy Green Vegetables, Molasses, Nuts, Soybeans, Wheat Germ, Sunflower Seeds.

Vitamin K Sources Include: The main one is the plant form phylloquinone (green vegetables contain the highest level). Have dark-green, leafy vegetables, e.g., kale, parsley, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts and lettuce. Soybean, canola and olive oils are relatively rich sources too.

Also eat predominately a vegetarian based, low sodium diet, have meat 1 time a day maximum and choose foods that have less than 150 mg of sodium per serving most often. Excess protein and sodium can increase calcium losses in the urine (Alternative Medicine Review 1999;4(2):74-85). "40 grams of animal protein (representing about 800 mg of elemental phosphorus) takes out about 40 mg of calcium," (Annals NY Academy of Sciences 1998;854:336-351). For more information on vegetarian eating and maintaining your bone strength. Contact The Livitician Network at (310) 247-0018.

Deborah A. Klein, MS, RD