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Calcium is your go-to mineral for stronger bones and the latest advice is to get as much of it as possible from food rather than supplements
To stay healthy, your bones need an alkaline environment. “If your body detects too much acidity in your blood, it could try to neutralise it by leaching calcium from your bones,” says Nurse Consultant Sarah Leyland, National Osteoporosis Society (www.nos.org.uk).
“Eating too much protein or carbohydrate could make your blood more acidic, but getting plenty of fruit and vegetables helps neutralise acidity and should prevent this from happening.”
Calcium is your go-to mineral for stronger bones, and the latest advice is to get as much of it as possible from food rather than supplements. Aim for 700mg a day in as many different foods as possible – but remember that you also need Vitamin D (from sunshine, eggs and oily fish, or supplements) to aid calcium’s absorption.
Cheese is an easy source of calcium, with 200mg in a matchbox-sized portion of cheddar. But don’t rely too heavily on it, warns nutritionist Dr Marilyn Glanville.
“Cheese is acidic so, ironically, too much can upset the alkaline environment you need for healthy bones. Try organic, natural yogurt – it’s non-acidic, easy to digest, packed with probiotics for all-round health and contains 200mg calcium per 125g portion. Good non-dairy sources of calcium include almonds, sesame seeds, pulses, green veg, brown rice, eggs, quinoa, and tinned fish (with edible bones).
“If you top up with a supplement, look for calcium citrate, which is the same form of calcium you get from food. The other type – calcium carbonate – is essentially chalk, and your body will struggle to absorb it.”