Ask the experts: Food for broken bones

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Ask the experts: Food for broken bones

Q: "As a PE teacher and someone who loves to get involved in sport, I am relatively active. Two weeks ago I broke my ankle playing netball. I’m not allowed to weight-bear for six weeks and then I imagine it will be a long course of rehabilitation before I’m fully active again. What advice can you give me about the best foods to eat for bone/muscle repair and also, how much should I be eating while I’m inactive to ensure I don’t pile on the weight?"


A: Nutritionist Claire Turnbull replies:

“This is a really good time to focus on the quality of the food you are eating and look at reducing your portion sizes as you are likely to be burning less kJ each day given your new level of inactivity! To make sure your bones and muscles repair as quickly as possible, try these simple ideas:

Protein – Important part of bone structure and assists with hormone regulation involved in repairing bones. Include low-fat dairy products and lean meat/fish/chicken/eggs/tofu as part of meals and snacks.

Calcium – This helps with bone rigidity (strength). Aim for three to four servings of low-fat dairy products each day. A serving is a pot of yoghurt, a match-box sized piece of cheese or a cup of milk.

Vitamin D – Helps absorb calcium from food and helps store calcium in bones. Vitamin D is produced when your skin is exposed to sunlight, so get yourself outside. Oily fish including salmon, sardines and herring are also good sources.

Vitamin K1 (Phylloquinone) – This activates special proteins found in bone to lock in essential bone nutrients. Include green leafy vegetables like spinach and silver beet as part of your evening meal.

Magnesium – Also important for bone rigidity and is involved in the rebuilding of bone. Include whole grains every day, try a few nuts for a snack and again, stock up on your leafy greens.

Zinc – This helps essential minerals to be laid down in bone as well as playing an important role in the rebuilding of bone. It is helpful to include lean meat, seafood and whole grains each day.”

First published: Feb 2010


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