Did you know that kale and sesame seeds can contribute to the health of your skeleton? The nutritionist tells us about some special foods
In Italy, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, about 3,500,000 Italian women suffer from osteoporosis, a process of loss of the protein and mineral component of the bones, more frequent in old age (in women generally after menopause due to lack of estrogen, hormones that stimulate bone formation), but which can also occur in younger patients who have taken drug therapies for autoimmune or oncological diseases.
A pathology for which a correct lifestyle is very important from youth. "If the bones are well it means that the individual has grown well, fed well and exercised enough", explains Dr. Annamaria Colao, President-elect SIE (Italian Society of Endocrinology and Full Professor of Endocrinology and Diseases of Metabolism, Federico II University of Naples. To prevent the disease, the best preventive weapon is a correct diet rich in proteins, calcium and fresh products, in addition to physical exercise. "I remember that bone is formed and transformed every day with movement. Sedentary people lose bone mass, those who do a lot of physical activity build bone component ", points out the expert." If we want to have a strong and quality skeleton, since we are small we must eat well and exercise. After a certain age it is important to control the intake of vitamin D. When all these attentions are not sufficient, there are numerous effective therapies in preventing fragility fractures ”.
But what to bring to the table? And what to avoid? To offer us nutritional advice is Dr. Lucilla Titta, nutritionist and researcher at the European Institute of Oncology, as part of the campaign "Make your bones win", born with the aim of making patients more proactive in taking care health of your bones and ignite the importance of being consistent in following the therapies. The campaign offers information on bone fragility, tips on correct lifestyles, nutritional advice, an overview of treatments, useful information to prepare for a medical examination. In addition to the possibility of taking a test to know whether or not you are at risk of bone fragility and, consequently, of fragility fractures.
The ideal diet for the prevention of osteoporosis is the Mediterranean one – explains Dr. Titta – based on carbohydrates, fiber, fruit and vegetables and a low intake of saturated fats. Diet must first of all provide adequate doses of calcium, a mineral essential for the health of bones and teeth, which reduces the risk of osteoporosis by supporting the structure and function of bones. Not everyone knows that in addition to cheeses, milk and dairy products (for example a small portion of crescenza provides 557 mg of calcium), it is also present in black cabbage, anchovies, dry soy, almonds and figs. Sesame seeds, for example, contain an amount comparable to that of aged cheeses. Surprisingly, the mineral is also found in dried sage: 2 tablespoons of this herb provide 165 mg.
Green light then to vitamin D, also called "vitamin of the sun", which helps the body to absorb calcium. In the absence of vitamin D, in fact, the body takes calcium from the bones, weakening them. Being outdoors in the sunlight for one hour a day with hands, arms and face uncovered is enough for a normal production of vitamin D, but a small percentage is contained in food. Among these, fatty fish such as herring, salmon, egg yolk and butter appear.
Other important nutrients not to be overlooked are proteins, which are essential for maintaining muscles and strength, reducing the risk of falls and fractures. Fish, eggs, dairy products and white meats are good sources of protein, which can be alternated during the week with portions of legumes, which should be the protagonists of the diet.
Then pay attention to an adequate introduction of fruit and vegetables. Every day, we should eat 5 portions in total, and carbohydrates, remembering that not all are the same. Changing the type of carbohydrates you eat can actually benefit your bones. To season, extra virgin olive oil well.
Red light, however, for unsaturated fats and some saturated fats and definitely no to added salt. It may taste good, but too much salt has a negative impact on the body, including bones. Instead, try flavoring dishes with garlic, herbs, and spices. Also avoid processed meats and the harmful chemicals they contain and reduce the risk of chronic disease. And finally, pay attention to snacks. Not all snacks are bad. Instead of opting for something high in calories and low in nutrients, choose something healthy.
And the drinks? To conclude, the alcoholic and sugary ones should be avoided or limited to a few occasions, preferring instead the consumption of water, which is also a source of calcium.