Bone health is something we may entirely disregard until we discover, perhaps later in life, after an injury or a DEXA scan that we have poor bone mineral density. Unlike our teeth, hair or nails we can’t visualise our bones therefore keeping an eye on bone health doesn’t often sit at the top of our priority list. But is should. Particularly if, as women, we have had periods of under-nourishment especially in our teens when our skeletons were still forming, chunks of time when menstruation has ceased (generally over 6 months is known as amenorrhea), vitamin D deficiency, over-exercise, a hysterectomy, alcohol misuse, pituitary issues or early menopause. That’s quite a list!
As women our bone density begins to reduce around the age of 35. This is normal. But the risk factors above may accelerate this loss. So, it’s wise to remain bone aware as losing our mobility in later life is one of the factors which most reduces happiness levels as we age.
One way to focus on bone health is to consider which nutrients encourage strong bones and then including daily bone boosting recipes in our daily repertoire. Here I’m combining vitamin D, calcium, phosphorous and B12 in one tasty sardine pate with added magnesium, vitamin A and calcium in the leafy salad.
We all know that calcium is essential in maintaining our bone mass but optimal bone health is about much more than this one sole mineral. Vitamin D plays an essential role as it helps to increase the absorption of calcium. Phosphorus, abundant in sardines, is a mineral that is important to strengthening the bone matrix. We can also consider that as high levels of homocysteine are related to osteoporosis, vitamin B12, which is known to keep homocysteine levels in check, is also a worthy contender. I have included a layer of crunchy dark green spinach for its magnesium and vitamin K content too, and the vitamin A in that bright orange salad section plays an essential role in the development of osteoblasts.
We are ticking lots of bone boosting boxes!
· 1 tin of sardine in oil – 120 g – drained but not overly
· 1 small clove garlic crushed
· 1 spring onion finely chopped
· Himalayan sea salt and black pepper
· Tablespoon of lemon juice
· Few sprigs of both mint and coriander finely chopped
Blitz in a mini chopper and serve with a crunchy salad of spinach leaves, sliced orange pepper and grated carrot. Drizzle a little olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Add a sprinkle of poppy seeds for extra calcium.