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 PREVENTING OSTEOPOROSIS 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 your lifetime. P The three main areas to consider when it comes to preventing osteoporosis are calcium, vitamin D and exercise. Calcium 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 health benefits. It is way too simplistic to think all we need for good bone health is to drink milk every day; but we do need calcium. 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. Vitamin D 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.  Exercise 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 19