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A day with Cal-in+ Yoghurt

DIETITIAN, GILLIAN McCONNELL, EXPLAINS WHY CALCIUM AND VITAMIN D ARE VITAL FOR HEALTHY BONES “ABOUT 90 per cent of bone is laid down in the body by the end of adolescence (age 18) and up until around the age of 25, bone density and strength should be at their strongest,” says Gillian, Consultant Dietician at Inside Out Nutrition, which has clinics based in Greystones and Stillorgan. As we get older, however, more bone is destroyed than the body can replace. Reduction in bone density can be caused by several factors, “one of which may be an unbalanced diet,” explains Gillian. Gillian says it is important to follow the daily guided amounts of calcium and vitamin D in order to try to prevent the breakdown of your bones. “Adults need to consume at least 800 milligrams of calcium a day to help preserve healthy bones and teeth. If you can consume approximately a half a pint of milk plus one or two pots of yoghurt and an ounce of cheese each day, this will generally be enough calcium in your diet to meet your requirements. Calcium can also be found in non-dairy foods such as leafy greens or dried fruit and nuts or mineral water. However, often large amounts would need to be consumed to meet calcium requirements. Weight bearing exercise and avoiding smoking will also help prevent bone loss. “Be aware that the RDA will differ depending on various situations. For women breastfeeding, they will need at least 1,250 milligrams of calcium a day. People who follow special diets, such as a coeliac or a person with Crohn’s disease, will also need more calcium. If someone has actually been diagnosed with osteoporosis, they would need to have 1,000 milligrams

Eating dairy products will help you to get calcium. However, both calcium and vitamin D are needed for the maintenance of normal bones. This is because vitamin D helps the body absorb and use calcium. Cal-in+ is formulated specially for adults’ nutrient needs, providing 400mg of calcium, along with 5µg/d of vitamin D per pot. Thus one delicious pot of yoghurt can provide you with half of your daily calcium requirement and 100 per cent of your vitamin D nutrient reference value! Here’s how to get a balanced diet for bones. This meal plan adds up to more than 9000mg of calcium and 15µg/d of vitamin D. 7:30am – Breakfast - 30g fortified cereal (135mg calcium) with 200ml whole milk (245mg calcium) - Fresh orange juice 10am – Morning snack

Keeping bones strong for a strong future! a day of calcium in their diet.” Gillian stresses that, if following a special diet, people need to be conscious that eliminating certain food groups could mean eliminating important nutrients, like calcium and vitamin D, and to seek advice from your dietitian. “Many people today in Ireland may incorrectly diagnose themselves with dairy allergies or lactose intolerance – when, in fact, they’re not! Others have a tendency to use dairy alternatives because they assume they are healthier. This may result in missing out on calcium in the diet which may contribute to the development of osteoporosis in the future. And one of the things about osteoporosis is that it’s a silent disease – you can’t see it happening so your bones can be weakening without you even realising it. I’d always advise people to seek professional advice from your GP or dietician if you are considering eliminating food groups.” And just like healthy bones won’t survive without calcium, Gillian says calcium won’t

survive without vitamin D. “Vitamin D is so important for the absorption of calcium – they go hand-inhand. Without vitamin D you can’t form enough of the hormone calcitriol and this in turn leads to insufficient calcium absorption from the diet. Adults who don’t get enough vitamin D can develop osteomalacia, where bones become very soft and people may also experience bone pain and muscle weakness.” Gillian explains that people can get vitamin D through the skin from the sun and from the diet. However, in Ireland, it’s difficult to expect sunshine all year-round! “The amount of vitamin D you make depends on how strong the sunlight is. In Ireland the ultraviolet light is only strong enough to make vitamin D on exposed skin (on hands, face and legs or arms) for 15 minutes two to three times per week (before applying sunscreen) from March to October. During other months of the year, new recommendations made this year by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (UK) recommend an intake of

- Coffee with 40ml whole milk (49mg calcium) - Banana 1pm – Lunchtime - BBQ chicken chopped salad with a 5g sprinkle of cheese (55mg calcium) - Pot of Cal-in+ yoghurt (400mg calcium and 5µg vitamin D) 4pm – Afternoon snack - Handful of almonds (50mg calcium) 6:30pm – Dinner - 140g of salmon (10.2µg/d vitamin D), stir-fry vegetables and sweet potato wedges with peppercorn sauce 10 micrograms per day (µg/d) of vitamin D for those aged four years and above. This represents the daily recommended amount of vitamin D (from natural food sources, fortified foods or supplements). “However, vitamin D isn’t found in many foods and those foods may not be consumed on a daily basis, therefore making it harder to meet the recommended intake. It’s mainly in fortified milk or yoghurts, oily fish and some in eggs and fortified breakfast cereals. “Typically, the body will use as much as it needs in terms of vitamin D and calcium. Often people will get some calcium or vitamin D from their diet and may need an extra supplement a day to meet the RDA. Your GP might check your vitamin D levels or refer you for a DEXA scan of your bones. Always seek professional advice from your GP regarding calcium supplements and sound nutritional advice on calcium from a qualified dietitian.”

Cal-in+ October 16th  

Interview with dietitian Gillian McConnell on the importance of calcium and vitamin D in the diet

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