Eat colourfully for bone health


You know you ought to eat 5 helpings of fruit and vegetables a day for optimum health, and now it seems that if you choose carefully both men and women could be improving bone strength and lessening the risk of osteoporosis. It’s the antioxidant pigments (carotenoids) from plants that may play a protective role in taking care of bones and protect against bone loss in older men and women.

Osteoporosis used to be thought of as exclusively applying only to women, and men were rarely diagnosed with it, but that is now changing. The lifetime risk for a woman to have a bone break through osteoporosis is 30-40 per cent and in men the risk is about 13 per cent. Researchers at Tufts and Boston Universities used data from the ongoing Framingham Osteoporosis Study and their findings have revealed that an increased intake of carotenoids, and particularly of lycopene, gave some protection against bone mineral loss. It was different for the men and women in the study; men gained bone mineral density at the hip but women gained it in the lumbar spine.

Another reason to have a colourful salad with red tomatoes, and eat watermelon and pink and red grapefruit to ensure a good source of lycopene in your daily diet.

Smoothies go green

February 25, 2008 by  
Filed under At Home, Food & Nutrition, Health, Wellness

Breakfast is always a difficult meal for me as I don’t like cereals and am not mad about yoghurt or fruit or vegetables. It is a miracle I am as healthy as I am, and part of that miracle is that I take in my daily 5 in liquid form from my juicer or blender. Now in colder weather I am not so keen on chilled fruit smoothies, but I have found a way to have a healthy breakfast in minutes that gives me healthy carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins, minerals and chlorophyll – sound dreadful but it can be made to taste great with the addition of fruit.

I also find as I have got older I need protein in a morning so I add a scoop of protein powder for a complete meal. If you want to get out the blender this recipe could help you be bright eyed and bushy tailed whatever time of day you drink it – in fact it is a great pick me up for that mid-afternoon slump too.

If you want to have a go, the rule of thumb when making green smoothies is to use slightly more vegetables than fruits, say about 60/40 in favour of the green stuff. What goes in it? Well good greens to use might be romaine lettuce, kale, spinach, and chard. For the sweetness you might add fruit peeled and chopped fruit such bananas, pears, apples, blueberries, mangos, papayas, and pineapples.

Put your favoured fruit and veg into a good blender and add just enough water to allow the blender to bring vegetables and fruits together into a smoothie-like consistency. Personally I don’t use water, but cranberry juice as its slight tartness seems to bring out the flavour and I don’t like my drinks too thick so I add a good glug – personal taste so experiment to see what you like.

If you feel you need some extra antioxidants in your diet then you could also add a teaspoon or so of acerola cherry powder and then just drink it down. Don’t let it stand as the ingredients will separate and you get the most goodness immediately it has blended. If you do like a cold drink, then add some ice.

Key point: If you don’t have any problems digesting fruits and vegetables, you can mix and match any combination of the vegetables and fruits listed above. If you have a sensitive digestive tract, it is best to combine only one vegetable and one fruit at a time.