We must take care of the bones that support us and allow us to have an active life. A well balanced diet, with appropriate vitamins and minerals, is essential to maintaining healthy bones. Without sufficient calcium bone weakens, becomes “osteopaenic” and eventually “osteoporotic” leading to the risk of fractures and deformity. Moreover, recent research suggests that cardiovascular disease and bone loss are functionally interwoven. Lack of vitamin D also damages the bone, making it soft and resulting in rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Sunlight and oily fish are both good sources of vitamin D. If you live in Northern Europe or the Northern states of America or Canada , with limited amounts of sunshine, particularly if you have dark skin, there is a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency, so eating oily fish or supplementing your diet with cod liver oil is important to maintaining bone health.
Carrying too much weight causes increased strain and wear on the major load bearing joints such as the knees and hips. Research shows that the obese are four times more likely to develop knee osteoarthritis as to develop diabetes or elevated blood pressure. It is important to note that degeneration in the non load bearing joints, such as fingers and elbows is also more likely to occur in people who are overweight. Obesity is now considered to be a low-grade systemic inflammatory disease, and recent studies suggest that metabolic factors associated with obesity alter systemic levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines that are associated with osteoarthritis. This can cause generalised joint degeneration, not just in the knees, hips and ankles.
It is therefore important to your skeletal health to eat a balanced diet containing plenty of calcium, and vitamin D, whilst maintaining your body weight within a healthy range.