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Calcium and Stanols and Sterols

In: Other Topics

Submitted By claire95
Words 1071
Pages 5
Food Studies
Role of calcium reducing risk factors in the diet.
Calcium is a vital nutrient mineral in the diet. Some of it’s many functions include, the formation of bones and teeth, helping our blood to clot and intracellular signalling in nerves and muscle. When we consume insufficient amounts of this nutrient we can encounter many risk factors such as Osteoporosis. O’berine of the National Dairy Council states that over 200 million people have osteoporosis worldwide. This includes one in four women and results in weak brittle bones which can fracture easily. The Recommended Dietary Allowances for Ireland in 1999 were 800 mg per day for adult men and women. This RDA remains the same today. NANs 2011 reports that Calcium intakes were below the EAR(estimated average requirements) in 16% of women aged 18-64 years. This would contribute to the one in four women being diagnosed with osteoporosis as their calcium levels are too low.
American Bone Health (2011) states that 90% of our bone mass has been formed by the age of eighteen. This is reflected in the fact that the RDA of calcium for teenager is 1200mg. If we can encourage young people to increase their calcium intake before reaching their peak bone mass we can greatly decrease the risk factor of developing osteoporosis. The After peak bone mass is reached our bones gradually lose mass and if we did not consume enough calcium this can lead to porous fragile bones. Therefore it is vital to increase our calcium intake before this time. We can increase our calcium in the simplest form by drinking milk which is rich in calcium. One cup of milk contains 30% of the calcium we need a day. If we had a glass of milk at breakfast time this would set us up greatly for reaching our RDA. If that milk is enriched with Vitamin D such as Avonmore super milk then this is a huge benefit as vitamin D helps to adsorb calcium into the bones.
Dark leafy green vegetables such as kale and broccoli are the best non-dairy sources of calcium. These could be included daily in the diet of those who are dairy intolerant along with calcium supplements to help increase their calcium levels. 30gs of cheese provides 200mg of calcium. Low fat cheese is an easy way to boost calcium intake as it can be placed in a sandwich melted over pasta or eaten as a dessert. It is important to use low fat cheese in calorie reducing diets as cheese can contain a high proportion of saturated fat depending on the type of cheese. Tuna is also an interesting alternative to increase calcium intakes as it is high in vitamin D. Tinned Tuna often contain small bones present in the fish which help increase calcium levels. Including tuna in a pasta dish at dinner time or in a salad at lunch are simple ways to help boost your calcium content. An average carton of yogurt also contains 200mg of calcium this equals one quarter of an adults RDA! This shows how easy it is to reach our RDA if we include these foods at each meal time we can greatly reduce the risk factors associated with low calcium intake.
Stanols and Sterols
Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in Ireland. The central statistics office (CSO) in 2009 found that 18% of deaths were caused by coronary heart disease. One of the major risk factors that contribute to coronary heart disease is high cholesterol. Cholesterol is a fatty substance which is a key component of our blood and cell membranes. Some of its functions include the production of hormones for example testosterone and oestrogen, and the synthesis of vitamin D and bile acids. Cholesterol is either synthesised in our bodies or consumed in our diet. In spite of the risks associated with cholesterol it is important to note that not all cholesterol is bad. HDL cholesterol helps reduce bad cholesterol in the body and prevent heart disease. While LDL cholesterol in excess can cause arterial blockages and increase the risk of coronary heart disease. Medical experts advise that from the age of twenty we check our cholesterol levels at least every five years.
Structure (Barrington, 2013).

Plant stanols an sterols are proven to reduce blood cholesterol (ESFA,2009). However through regular exercise and a healthy balanced diet cholesterol levels can be safely managed. People with high cholesterol and at risk of coronary heart disease may benefit from eating plant stanols and sterol enriched dairy products. British Dietetic Association (2015) states that due to their similar structure to cholesterol plant stanols and sterols help reduce the adsorption of cholesterol in the intestines. As less cholesterol is absorbed this then lowers blood cholesterol. They are naturally found in plant based foods such as sesame seeds, corn oil and soya bean oil. It is important to note that foods enriched with plant stanols and sterols are to be eaten in conjunction with a healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables and although high cholesterol is a risk factor of CHD it is not the only factor. Therefore it is important to partake in regular exercise and reduce saturated fat intake also. Plant stanols and sterols are added to foods for people who cannot reduce their cholesterol through natural plant sterols.
People on cholesterol lowering medication should only eat foods enriched with plant stanols and sterols under medical advice. Pregnant and lactating women are advised to avoid products with stanols and sterols as it is not nutritionally beneficial. People who are medically advised to eat foods fortified with stanols and sterols must note that they are to be taken every day with meals. BDA (2015) notes that an intake of 2.5-3.0g per day can lower cholesterol by 10-12.5%. Studies show that eating more than 3gs of plant sterol enriched foods does not benefit but rather may hinder your diet as they may reduce your adsorption of fat soluble vitamins.
The reduction of the adsorption of fat soluble vitamins is a concern particularly beta carotene. Therefore it is advised that people taking stanols and sterol supplements eat at least one fruit or vegetable rich in beta carotene daily eg.carrot. To summarise research has shown that plant stanols and sterol enriched foods in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce high cholesterol.

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