There are 206 bones in our bodies, and each plays a vital role.
From the femur (the large thigh bone) to the staples (the small bones in the centre of the ear), it’s important to keep every single one of them healthy to carry out their particular function.
Bones provide support and structure to our bodies, and protect our vital organs, including the brain, spine and nervous system.
But they also have the job of regulating calcium and producing red and white blood cells in the bone marrow.
So as we get older, it’s just as important to take care of our bone health as the other organs in our body.
We normally reach peak bone mass in our mid to late 20s, then we go through a period of maintenance before our bones start to decline in older age.
Getting into healthier habits when we’re young is important.
Like muscle, our skeleton becomes stronger when we exercise. The force of muscles pulling against bones stimulates the bone-building process. Regular activity is vital to delay the onset of age-related bone loss – as long as it’s high impact, multi-directional movements such as Zumba or circuit training.
Exercise also enhances balance and coordination, to prevent falls and bone damage as we age. A study by the University of Exeter discovered just 1-2 minutes of high intensity exercise reaps skeletal rewards.
Bone-busting nutrients are also needed to feed your skeletal system and make sure it functions correctly.
Here is what you need:
More than 99% of our body’s calcium is stored in the bones and teeth. If levels drop to low, the blood pulls calcium from the bones to help with other functions, such as clotting and maintaining heart health and nerve function. So it’s important to keep levels topped up.
Where to get it: Milk, of course. But if you’re vegan or lactose intolerant, don’t worry. Leafy greens, oranges, almonds, kiwi fruit and even tofu can provide the calcium you need.
Recommended daily intake: 700mg
Between 50-60% of this mineral in our bodies can be found in bones. It’s vital to the structural development of bone, and ensuring the parathyroid glands (producing hormones important to bone health) work normally. It can also help prevent or treat osteoporosis.
Where to get it: leafy green vegetables, brown rice, nuts, wholemeal bread
Recommended daily intake: 270mg
Protein is important to our health in so many ways. Dietary proteins are key nutrients for healthy bones, and function in the prevention of osteoporosis. Several studies point to a positive effect of high protein intake on bone mineral density or content.
Where to get it: most green vegetables, avocadoes, dried figs, melon and nectarines
Recommended daily intake: Around 1.5g per kilo of bodyweight
Vitamins D and K
These both help your bones to absorb calcium. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to soft bones in children (rickets) and fragile, misshapen bones in adults (osteomalacia). Vitamin K can increase bone mineral density and actually reduce the risk of fractures.
Where to get it: Vitamin D comes from the skin’s exposure to sun, as well as oily fish, eggs and meat. Vitamin K is in kale, broccoli, parsley, cabbage, and some cereals.
Recommended daily intake: Vitamin D 10mcg, Vitamin K 122mcg
This is another nutrient which plays an important role in bone metabolism – if a little indirectly. B6 is necessary for hydrochloric acid (HCl) production by the stomach, and HCl in turn is necessary for calcium absorption. All of our musclemary not just protein products contain B6.
Where to get it: Soya beans, peanuts, potatoes, wholegrain cereals, brown rice
Recommended daily intake: 1.3mg
Osteoblasts, the body’s bone-building cells, require a good supply of B12, or their ability to function properly will be compromised. Vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia has been associated with osteoporosis, and having low serum levels of vitamin B12 has also been associated recently with frailty in older women.
Where to get it: Some soy-based meat substitutes are fortified with B12 (but check the label) as well as breakfast cereals, rice and energy bars
Recommended daily intake: 2.4mcg
Where musclemary® comes in
For those on a plant-based diet, for health or ethical reasons, it is possible to get the full range of vitamins and minerals from a broad range of vegan foods. But using musclemary® not just protein™ powder in shakes or recipes is a great way of ensuring your required intake, particularly of protein as well as Vitamins B6, B12 and C.