Most of us reach what we call ‘peak bone mass’ by our mid-twenties, meaning that our bones are at their strongest point in our life. The heavier your bone mass the better, as it means that your bones are strong. Reaching an adequate peak bone mass can assist with preventing bone conditions such as osteoporosis and osteopenia, as it ensures that our bones are less likely to break of fracture.
For teenage girls it is very important to ensure that they not only enjoy regular exercise, but also a diet adequate in vitamin D, calcium and phosphate for good bone health.
Good lifestyle habits for Teenage Girls may include:
1. Regular weight bearing exercises: such as jogging, weights or dancing to strengthen bones
2. Vitamin D: naturally derived from sunlight - get outdoors for at least 10 minutes everyday (before 10am or after 2pm when the sun is not at its strongest). Look for soymilk fortified with vitamin D or enjoy dairy products such as milk everyday (contains small amounts of vitamin D)
3. Calcium rich foods: such as milk, cheese, yoghurt and custard. Teenage girls should enjoy between 3 to 4 serves of calcium rich foods everyday! 1 serve equals 250ml of milk or soymilk, 2 slices of cheese (40g), 250g yoghurt, soy-yoghurt or custard, 1 handful of Hazelnuts, Almonds or Brazil nuts etc.
4. Limiting salt, carbonated drinks and caffeine consumption: these foods flush calcium from the body
5. Potassium and Magnesium: enjoying fruits and vegetables everyday (potassium and magenesium rich foods) which assist in retaining bone calcium
For tips on how to incorporate such lifestyle modifications into a Teenagers lifestyle it may be worth visiting an Accredited Practicing Dietitian.
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