What do you think of when you hear the word ‘osteoporosis’? That it’s a problem that affects old ladies? That it’s got something to do with weak bones? Well, you’d be correct on both fronts, but that’s only part of the story.
The mineral content of a woman’s bones at the time of menopause is much more a result of her calcium intakes over the previous four or five decades than over the last few years, so it’s vital to ensure that good calcium habits are ingrained from the youngest age possible.
For example, did you know that thanks to osteoporosis (which literally means thinning of the bones), every three minutes in this country someone sustains a fracture? That one in three women is affected but one in twelve men is too? Or that £750 million of the health budget is spent on mending hip fractures, and that within just six months of sustaining the injury, some 20 per cent of those affected will die. That’s 15,000 women a year dying from osteoporosis. So you see it’s not just a bit of a problem that old people have to live with, people can die from it too.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that osteoporosis is both treatable and preventable. We may have the image that bones are solid masses that remain the same throughout our entire life. Nothing could be further from the truth. Bones are made up of a network of protein tissue, which comprises one third of their weight. Onto this protein network, crystalline minerals such as calcium are constantly being deposited and removed. The minerals make up the other two-thirds of a bone’s weight. Bones are just as alive as the rest of our bodies, and every year a good 10 per cent of your skeleton has been remodelled.
Dairy products, especially milk, are one of the very best sources of calcium. It is not just that milk is an incredibly rich source, it’s also that the calcium in milk seems to be absorbed better by the body than the calcium in other foods. For more information on daily intake of calcium visit www.fruitsmoothierecipes.me.uk.