As a female athlete it’s important to consider what we eat before and after training to protect our bone health, reduce risk of injury and time off training and competition. Here’s two easy ways female athletes can improve bone health with diet.
Promoting bone health for female athletes
Female athletes are more likely to have poor bone health than our male counterparts. Between 28-45% of female endurance athletes have low bone density. Essentially weaker, softer bones.
Women who don’t get a period (including those on the pill) may have even lower bone density still. Bone losses associated with not getting a period can rapidly shift an athlete into osteoporosis and greatly increase the risk of stress fractures.
Every reduction in bone density, increases the risk of fracture. Which means time off training and competing and enjoying life.
As a female athlete it’s essential to build, build build your bone mineral density as much as you possibly can by age 30. The higher your bone mineral density is are, the better due to age related losses which are accelerated with menopause.
Here are two ways that you can begin to use right now to promote your bone health.
Eat a calcium rich meal before exercise
Eating a calcium rich (1300mg) dairy based meal 90 before exercise can provide protective effects on bone metabolism.
A suitable breakfast calcium rich meal would be 57g quick oats, 500ml milk, 175g yoghurt, 13g brown sugar and 20g of sultanas.
Rapidly refuel after exercise with carbohydrate and protein
Refuelling immediately after training with carbohydrate (1.5g/kg) and protein (0.5g/kg) also shows beneficial research for bone metabolism.
For a 60kg athlete this is 90g of carbohydrate and 30g of protein and could be a smoothie make with milk, greek yoghurt or cottage cheese, berries and a bit of honey.
Key message: Calcium rich pre-exercise meal and rapid refuelling of carbohydrate and protein post-exercise promotes bone health in female athletes.