Calcium + Vitamin D = Tough Bones
This week is National Healthy Bones Week and it is always a reminder to stop and do a quick audit of where your calcium intake is at. Aside from food, there are hereditary and lifestyle factors to consider too. I love dairy products, but still need to do a daily check just to make sure I’m ticking all the boxes. Depending on your age group you will need somewhere between 1000-1300mg per day.
There are plenty of good sources (see box below) but it becomes obvious that it is not easy to get what you need from non-dairy sources. Broccoli is one of my favourite vegetables but I can’t eat almost 400 grams to get one serve of calcium!
The other key factor in strong bones is Vitamin D. The best natural source of Vitamin D is sunlight, but many of us don’t get enough. It is estimated that 1 in 3 Australians are Vitamin D deficient due to our diets being low in the vitamin and our decreasing exposure to sunlight. Slip, slop, slap is obviously integral for our wellbeing but it does limit our ability to synthesize Vitamin D. With regards to osteoporosis, high risk categories include; those who smoke, those who suffer inflammatory bowel disease, Type 1 diabetes, liver problems or an overactive thyroid. Early menopause or family history of early menopause or broken bones can also be a factor.
If you feel as though you are at risk, go get a bone density test and do a calcium check.
Quick, easy custard (and great source of calcium)
500ml low fat milk
1-tablespoon custard powder
Mix custard powder and sugar together with a small amount of the milk to make a paste. Add this to the remaining milk and whisk together.
Microwave on HIGH at 90 second intervals (whisking in between) until custard is smooth and thick.
Serves several if in a sharing mood or just two if you love custard.
How to get a top score
Studying and preparing for exams is like being an athlete and training for an event. You know that it takes discipline, tests of endurance, endless concentration and skill. That being said, none of this is possible if you don’t look after what you are eating. You may have done the training and the studying to get you to the exam but have you fuelled the tank with the right petrol?
Top 5 Performance Tips – do they fit into your game plan?
Does caffeine give you a buzz?
Try and avoid relying on caffeine to keep you alert and awake. Caffeine stimulates every organ in your body and in small doses can be a useful study tool but too much can mean over-stimulation of your nervous system, increased heart rate and erratic sleep patterns. Sources of caffeine include coffee, tea (to a lesser extent), cola drinks and energy drinks eg. Red Bull, V, Lift Plus etc. Energy drinks contain a mix of caffeine and sugar, which gives you an extra hit but they are equivalent to drinking a cappuccino, flat white or latte.
Omega-3 fats are known to boost brainpower and should be an essential part of every students diet. Fish, shellfish and fish oils are good dietary sources of these fats and are found in particularly ‘oily’ fish such as herring, mackerel, sardines and salmon. Canned, fresh or frozen fish are all good sources of omega-3 fats. Try and include them 2-3 times per week.
Probiotics are foods or supplements that contain live beneficial bacteria (bugs) that keep your gut healthy. Exam stress is one thing that can upset intestinal balance and probiotic’s may be especially useful during this time. There are a number of sources of probiotic’s including liquids, yoghurts, capsules and powders.
Yakult is one of the leading products on the market and can be found in the dairy section of the supermarket. Just drink one every morning for a boost.
Pump the Iron
Iron is essential for getting enough oxygen around your body and this is obviously important during study and exam time! The best sources are liver (try reduced fat pate if you are not keen on liver), lean red meat, breakfast cereals and legumes (baked beans, chickpeas, kidney beans etc) and to a much lesser extent chicken, fish and leafy green vegetables. Include some fruit or vegetables, which contain Vitamin C with your iron-rich food and this, will help with the absorption.
Don’t forget to drink plenty of fluids while studying to avoid brain drain. There are no rules that say you have to drink 8 glasses of water every day but regular intake is key. Water will always be the best choice but you might mix this up with some coffee, tea or Milo for a change in pace. Avoid getting stuck into sugary drinks like soft drinks, cordials and energy drinks, sure you will get a blood sugar boost but they will get smacked back down again quick smart.
Breathe in, Breathe Out
If you happened to tune into the morning show on 6PR last week, you would have heard Simon Beaumont trying to inhale some chocolate dust through a product known as Le Whif. Perhaps I shouldn’t have made him do that live to air, but it was amusing all the same.
Apparently there is no need to actually eat food anymore, one can just breathe it in. My first impression of Le Whif when it arrived in the mail was a cigarette pack full of asthma inhalers. It scared me. In reality, the small package contains 3 small cannisters of ‘whiffable’ chocolate.
Le Whif was developed by Harvard professor David Edwards using ‘particle engineering.’ In real words this means forming natural food substances, like chocolate, in particle sizes that are small enough to become airborne, though too large to enter the lungs.
But back to my experience. After preparing my puffer I eagerly awaited my ‘whif’ of chocolate. Sadly, all that registered on my tongue was a ‘whif” of fresh air with an ever so small suggestion of chocolate. Fabulous way of losing weight though, as the Le Whif experts suggest. The brochure attached to the product states that “When you eat a chocolate bar, most of the chocolate passes through your mouth without actually contacting your taste buds.” Objection, Your Honour. It does so. They go on to postulate “from a taste point of view, most chocolate is not serving you, apart from delivering calories.” Not so sure about that one either and I know that others will agree there are a number of ways that chocolate can serve us. Aren’t there?
Anyway, new experiences are essential in life and although I spent 4 puffs trying to work out what was going on, all was not lost. I laughed a LOT, got some extra air into my lungs and only inhaled only 4 calories.
The final word
If you have a hot nutrition question or you are interested in finding how to improve the performance and productivity of your team, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time, tune into my blog.
The best days go the fastest. Keep up.
Until next time,