You can’t see them, you can’t feel them, and they ‘seem’ strong so what’s all the fuss about?
Your bones – quite literally – hold you up. But, most people don’t give them a second thought until they break one. What most people don’t realise is that bones are like bank accounts, you have to invest in them early and often to reap the benefits later on.
- Consuming plenty of calcium-rich foods every day, such as milk, cheese and yoghurt, is essential for building and maintaining healthy bones. If we don’t eat enough calcium, the calcium within our bones is used for other important body functions and this may increase our risk of osteoporosis.
- Exercising regularly is vital to help maintain bone strength. Activities such as jogging, aerobics, tennis, dancing, netball or any exercise that is ‘weight bearing’ and done on your feet will benefit your bones. Cycling and swimming, while they are good for your health, don’t make the cut when it comes to strengthening your bones.
- The third element in the strong bone health trifecta is Vitamin D which helps with the absorption of calcium. A small amount of vitamin D comes from the food we eat, but most of it comes from our bodies producing vitamin D when our skin is exposed to regular safe sunshine.
- Milk, cheese and yoghurt are the top three sources of calcium in the Australian diet. While it is true that calcium is found in other foods, you need to consume five cups of cooked broccoli; 32 brussels sprouts; or five cups of red beans to provide your body with the same amount of calcium as it will get from one 250ml glass of milk!
- Osteoporosis doesn’t discriminate – it impacts men as well! 1 in 20 men and 1 in 5 women in Australia are affected by the condition.
Now we have made it through the facts and figures, it’s time for the fun stuff. Here are some top tips for getting more calcium-rich dairy food into your day!
- For an indulgent but healthy 3pm snack, slip the stone out of a fresh date, fill with fresh ricotta or cream cheese and topped with roasted hazelnuts or almonds – perfect for a dunk in a latte!
- Spicy winter stews, slow-cooker casseroles and steaming soups go perfectly with a generous dollop of yoghurt on top.
- And, for dessert don’t forget everyone’s favourite custard. Keep a box of custard powder and some UHT milk in your pantry and you’ll have a healthy emergency dessert kit on hand, whenever you need it.
Calcium-Charged Recipe Ideas
The Dairy Kitchen have created a collection of inspirational, calcium-packed Healthy Bones Action Week recipes designed to help you meet your daily dairy requirements. Your recommended serves from the dairy food group varies depending on your age and gender, to find out how many serves you should be having visit the Legendairy website.
And, just in time for Healthy Bones Week, The Dairy Kitchen have also created a handy series of meal planners to help you make sure you’re getting enough calcium in your daily diet. Click here to download your free meal planner.
The warm, aromatic Homemade Chai Latte is a good place to start. This melting pot of warm milk infused with fragrant spices such as cinnamon, cardamom and cloves is the perfect calcium-rich snack, containing four times more calcium than a regular cup of tea with a splash of milk.
Nothing beats a homemade pie and our Kale, Pumpkin and Feta Pie is really versatile. Perfect piping hot straight from the oven for dinner or delicious cold for lunch.
A rustic pie with a modern twist, combining seasonal pumpkin and kale with a crunchy top of filo pastry and pepita seeds – and the combination of feta, parmesan and milk, ensures that each portion contains a serve of dairy
Making soup is a great time-saver, as you can prepare ahead of time and make a double batch to freeze in portions for later. Our Creamy Carrot and Coriander Soup is portioned to serve two and is incredibly nutritious thanks to the use of fresh, seasonal produce combined with milk and natural yoghurt.
Healthy Bones Action Week seeks to reverse the increasing prevalence of osteoporosis in Australia. Currently two in three Australians over the age of 50 have osteoporosis or osteopenia and by 2022, 6.2 million Australians will be affected – an increase of 31% from 2012*.
Learn more about Healthy Bones Week and how you can get more calcium in your daily diet here.
*Watts J.J., Abimanyi-Ochom J, Sanders K.M. (2013), Osteoporosis costing all Australians A new burden of disease analysis – 2012 to 2022. Osteoporosis Australia, Glebe, 2013
This post was brought to you by our friends at The Dairy Kitchen.