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Love your bones – serving up for bone strength

Patrick Holford says you can keep your joints mobile and your bones strong well into old age, avoiding aches and pains and reversing arthritic pain – even if you have it already, just by understanding what they need to stay healthy.

“Bones are made from a matrix of collagen, produced by Vitamin C, into which bone-building materials such as calcium, magnesium and potassium are deposited. Although they seem the strongest and most enduring part of us, our bones are in constant flux, endlessly being destroyed and re-created. Cells called osteoclasts are the bone destroyers, whereas the osteoblasts create new bone – but age slows down this sequence of destruction and renewal,” says Holford.

It is for this reason bones become porous, brittle and prone to fracture.“This is when bone loss has outpaced the growth of new bone,” says Holford.

Strategies for improving bone-mass density either focus on stimulating growth, helping to push minerals into the bone, or on preventing its breakdown.

“Weight-bearing exercises – such as walking, combined with eating sufficient protein, for example, stimulate bone growth. Getting enough Vitamin D helps calcium to be absorbed into the bone, while the hormone oestrogen and drugs called bisphosphonates inhibit bone breakdown. B vitamins assist your body’s methylation and keep your homocysteine level ideal, which also helps to inhibit bone breakdown,” advises Holford.

Holford gives some valuable advice for keeping your bones and joints young:

  • Eat more nuts, seeds and beans – high in bone-friendly minerals.
  • Eat oily fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines) at least three times a week for extra Omega 3 and Vitamin D
  • Exercise every day, including some weight-bearing, joint-stretching, back strengthening and muscle-building exercises.
  • Make an effort to lose weight if you are overweight.
  • Eat plenty of red onions, garlic, eggs and olives, and spice up your food with liberal quantities of turmeric.
  • Take a twice-daily multivitamin that provides you with optimum levels of Vitamin D, Vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, boron, Vitamin C and Omega 3.