YMCA Healthy Living Magazine, powered by n4 food and health (Autumn 2015) - Page 19
Dr Joanna McMillan, PhD APD
The founder of Get Lean (www.drjoanna.com.au), Dr Joanna’s ever-growing
following is the result of her high profile within the media, health and fitness
industries, and through her roles as Vice President of the Australian Lifestyle
Medicine Association (ALMA), Ambassador for Diabetes Australia, and
Ambassador for Australian Pineapples (to name a few). Read more about
Dr Joanna at n4foodandhealth.com
Nutrition expert Dr Joanna provides these tips to help prevent osteoporosis.
oor bone health affects more
than 33 per cent of our
population. That’s more than
seven million people affected and
results in one broken bone occurring
every 3.6 minutes! It’s a condition that
affects men and women of all ages.
And when it comes to your bone health,
it’s vital that you do think about it when
you’re young, as well as throughout
The three main areas to consider when
it comes to preventing osteoporosis are
calcium, vitamin D and exercise.
Your body continually needs calcium
because if it runs out, it starts taking
calcium from your bones. This weakens
your bones and puts them at risk of a
break. To prevent your body from doing
this, you need to ensure a regular
supply in your diet.
Dairy foods are among the richest dietary
sources of calcium, although the links to
bone health are not without controversy.
A recent Swedish study found no
reduction in risk of fracture in women with
increasing milk consumption. The high
milk consumption seemed to increase
inflammation and oxidative stress in the
body and so perhaps this counteracted
any benefit from the calcium.
Fermented milk products like yoghurt
and sour milk, did not have these
effects, adding to body of evidence
suggesting such foods have distinct
It is way too simplistic to think all we
need for good bone health is to drink
milk every day; but we do need
Since much of the world does without dairy
clearly we can get it elsewhere, but if your body
tolerates dairy without problems then these foods
make it easier for you to meet your daily calcium
targets. I certainly have at least two serves of
milk, yoghurt and/or cheese every day. If you
can’t or don’t want to eat dairy, then you need
plenty of dark green veggies, almonds, tahini and
fish with edible small bones such as sardines or
canned salmon to boost your calcium intake.
Secondly you need vitamin D to be able to make
use of the calcium in your diet. We make vitamin
D in our skin on exposure to sunlight.
Unfortunately our steps to protect our skin from
cancer, is making it harder for us to produce
enough vitamin D.
If you are at high risk of skin cancer, or for religious
(covering up), geographical (not much sun) or other
reasons you cannot get out in the sun, then I
recommend taking a vitamin D supplement. For the
rest of us, between May and August, all we need is
two to three hours or so in the sun, to expose our
arms and legs to make sufficient vitamin D.
I love the App called D Minder, which helps you
track how much sun exposure you need, based
on where you are, your size and so on.
If you’re not prioritising exercise then you’re not
prioritising your bone health. Weight bearing
exercise, such as walking, running, jumping rope
or climbing stairs will keep your bones the
strongest. Lifting weights makes a difference too.
Essentially, you need stimulus to make your bones
lay down calcium and other minerals – sitting on
your bum for more than eight hours a day (typical
in Western lifestyles where many of us have desk
jobs) is highly damaging to our bones.
Visit Osteoporosis Australia (www.
osteoporosis.org.au) to find out more.
AUTUMN 2015 YMCA HEALTHY LIVING MAGAZINE