Introducing Fluoride

Building Strong Bones and Healthy Teeth

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When we hear the word fluoride most of us think about its role in keeping our teeth healthy. It’s true that the main function of fluoride in the body is in the mineralisation of bones and teeth therefore, it is critical for healthy teeth and bones. This is why fluoride is now routinely added to most toothpastes. Fluoride is also present in soils, water supplies, plants and animals. Only a trace of fluoride is found in the body, but even at these tiny amounts, the crystalline deposits of fluoride result in larger and stronger bones and makes teeth more resistant to decay.

The Primary Sources of Fluoride

Fluoride is commonly found in drinking water (if fluoride-containing or fluoridated), tea, and seafood (especially if eaten with bones).

 

Bioavailability of Fluoride

Fluoride bioavailability from water and dental products is very close to 100%. Calcium may reduce the absorption of fluoride by 10–25%.

Risks Related to Inadequate or Excess Intake of Fluoride

In humans, the only clear effect of inadequate fluoride intake is an increased risk of dental caries (tooth decay) for individuals of all ages. Too much fluoride can damage the teeth, causing fluorosis. Teeth develop small white specks and in severe cases the enamel becomes pitted and permanently stained. Fluorosis only occurs during tooth development and cannot be reversed, making its prevention a high priority.

Find more information on vitamins and micronutrient deficiencies though our partner, Vitamin Angels or download our complete vitamin and mineral guide here

Incorporate fluoride into your next meal by trying the delicious recipe below…

Linguine with Clams*

Ingredients

150 g dried linguine
2 cloves of garlic
1 bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
500 g clams, scrubbed, from sustainable sources
olive oil
1 pinch of dried red chili flakes
125 ml dry white wine
extra virgin olive oil

Method

Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions. Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the garlic, then pick and finely chop the parsley (stalks and all).

Sort through the clams, giving any that aren’t tightly closed a tap. If they don’t close, throw them away.
When the pasta has 5 minutes to go, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over a high heat, add the garlic and chilli flakes, and fry for 1 minute, or until lightly golden.

Throw in the clams, give the pan a good a shake, then after 30 seconds add the wine and pop the lid on.
After 3 or 4 minutes, the clams will start to open – keep shaking the pan until they’ve all opened, then remove from the heat, and discard any clams that remain closed.

Using tongs, drag the pasta straight into the pan of clams, then simmer for a minute or two in all the delicious juices.

Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed, then add the parsley and good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and toss together. Delicious served with a glass of chilled white wine.

*This recipe is sourced from Jamie Oliver

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Introducing Calcium

Building Strong Bones

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We have all heard the phrase ‘those bones need calcium’ and it is essential advice for all of us! An adequate intake of calcium is one of a number of factors important for acquiring bone mass and attaining peak bone mass. Diets containing insufficient amounts of calcium may lead to lower bone mineral density, which may have implications for bone health, notably risk of osteoporosis later in life. Our bones are gaining and losing minerals continuously in an ongoing process of remodeling. Calcium forms crystals on a matrix of the protein collagen. This process is called mineralization. During mineralization, as the crystals become denser, they give strength and rigidity to the bones. Most people achieve a peak bone mass by their late 20s, and dense bones best protect against age-related bone loss and fractures.

Calcium is in fact the most abundant mineral in the body. Ninety-nine percent of the body’s calcium exists in the bones and teeth. It is an integral part of bone structure and calcium found in the bones also serves as a bank from which the body can withdraw calcium to compensate for low intakes. The remaining 1% of the body’s calcium is in the body fluids, where it helps regulate blood pressure and muscle movement. Calcium is important at all life stages, and most especially during periods of linear growth, infancy, childhood and puberty, as well as pregnancy and lactation. In the blood, calcium helps to maintain normal blood pressure. Calcium is also involved in the regulation of muscle contraction, transmission of nerve impulses, secretion of hormones and activation of some enzyme reactions.

The Primary Sources of Calcium

Calcium is most commonly found in milk and milk products as well as small fish (with bones), calcium-set tofu (bean curd), legumes, spinach, Chinese cabbage, kale, and broccoli.

Bioavailability of Calcium

Calcium absorption by the body is enhanced by the presence of vitamin D and decreased in the presence of oxalic and phytic acid in foods. Thus, foods with high content of calcium that are also rich in oxalic acid (e.g., spinach, sweet potatoes, rhubarb, and beans) or phytic acid (e.g., seeds, nuts, grains) will result in a lower absorption of calcium compared to foods with no inhibitors, such as milk and milk products. Diets high in sodium or phosphorus (e.g., cola beverages) also negatively affect calcium levels in the bone.

Risks Related to Inadequate Intake of Calcium

Because calcium is critical to muscle contraction and nerve impulses, the body tightly regulates blood calcium levels. If calcium intake is low, the body will draw on calcium in the bones. Poor chronic intake in calcium results in osteomalacia, in which bones become weak owing to lack of calcium. Insufficient calcium in bones can also result from an inadequate supply of vitamin D, which is essential for absorption of calcium and its deposition in the bones. Thus, adequate calcium and vitamin D intake is vital for bone integrity and for bone growth.

Find more information on vitamins and micronutrient deficiencies though our partner, Vitamin Angels or download our complete vitamin and mineral guide here

Incorporate calcium into your next meal by trying the delicious recipe below…

Cheese & Spinach Penne with Walnut Crumble*

Ingredients

500g pack penne
2 large leeks, sliced
85g butter
85g plain flour
2 tsp ready-made English mustard
good grating nutmeg
1l milk, plus a bit extra
350g pack mature cheddar, grated
4 slices French bread, diced
85g walnut piece
400g bag spinach

Method

Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/ gas 5. Boil the pasta with the leeks for 10 mins, then drain.

Meanwhile, put the butter, flour, mustard, nutmeg and milk in a large pan with some seasoning. Gently heat, stirring all the time, until bubbling and thickened, then cook for 2 mins more, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and stir in two-thirds of the cheese. Toss the remaining cheese with the bread and walnuts.

Cook the spinach in the microwave, or pour a kettle of boiling water over it to wilt, then squeeze out the excess water. Stir into the sauce with the pasta, leeks and some seasoning. If necessary, add a little extra milk to loosen. Divide between 2 ovenproof dishes and scatter the bread mixture on top. If eating straight away, bake for 40 mins until golden, or cool to freeze.

*Adapted from BBC Good Food 

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