It’s Friday, and you know what that means… 3 Question Friday of course! Every week our head nutritionist Ben answers his favourite 3 questions that you have asked each week.
Congratulations to Mitch, Jan, and Florence who all won $20 gift vouches just for asking a question! Don’t forget you can send Ben a question anytime at email@example.com
This week’s questions are:
- Mitch asked “What’s the best form of magnesium supplement?”
- Jan was curious “Aren’t vegetable oils bad for you?”
- Florence wanted to know “what’s the best diet for osteoporosis?”
1. What’s the best form of magnesium supplement?
This week I wrote a blog all about the benefits of magnesium in the diet that you can access here!
In case you missed it, magnesium is one of the most important nutrients in the body and is involved in over 300 chemical reactions in the body. Magnesium is important for regulating muscle, brain and nerve health, maintaining blood sugar and blood pressure levels, maintaining bone health, and assisting in the production of proteins and DNA!
I did miss one important question though… What’s the best form of magnesium supplement? There are so many different types of magnesium that are used for different reasons. Let’s keep it simple though!
The best and most absorbable form of magnesium seems to be magnesium citrate, while magnesium chelate, magnesium taurate, magnesium malate, magnesium glycinate, magnesium chloride, and magnesium carbonate are all pretty good choices.
The least absorbable form of magnesium is magnesium oxide, so you want to avoid this. This is typically found in cheap supplements (that’s right, not all supplements are created equally!). Magnesium sulphate, magnesium glutamate and aspartate could also be considered poor forms for magnesium so it may be best to avoid these too! (1, 2, 3)
Basically, when it comes to buying a magnesium supplement aim to get magnesium citrate, while avoiding magnesium oxide, magnesium sulphate, magnesium glutamate and magnesium aspartate.
Just be careful of the runs, as too much magnesium can cause diarrhoea!
2. Aren’t vegetable oils bad for you?
While I agreed with most of their dietary recommendations, The Heart Foundation considered olive, canola, sunflower, peanut and soybean oil to be healthy oils.
While olive oil has many reported benefits, the other oils could be of some concern. I had an email from Jan who expressed her doubts about these oils, so I thought I’d dive into this in more detail (4).
One of the reasons why these oils are considered unhealthy is that they can contain large amounts of omega 6 fatty acids that can cause inflammation when we consume them in too higher amounts. Both omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are ‘essential’, meaning we must consume them in the diet as our body cannot make them.
However, in the past three decades our intake of omega-6 fatty acids has increased and omega-3 fatty acids has decreased, resulting in a large increase in the omega-6/omega-3 ratio from 1:1 during evolution to 20:1 today, or even higher!
A bigger concern with these oils is trans-fats that may be found in small amounts in some of these oils. High consumption of trans-fats has been linked to heart disease, inflammation, higher LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower (good) HDL cholesterol.
The amount of trans-fats found in some of these oils including canola, soybean can vary from 0.4–4.2%. However, these are American studies, and may be lower in Australian products. Although this isn’t ideal for health these oils may be better choices for things such as deep frying due to reduced oxidation (when oil turns rancid and can cause inflammation) with high cooking temperatures (15, 16, 17).
While olive oil, avocado oil, and hemp seed oil may be better choices for pan-frying and roasting. Most importantly, it’s best to reduce your trans-fat intake. To this avoid all vegetable oils and margarines that list partially hydrogenated oil on the ingredient list (18, 19, 20, 21)
3. What’s the best diet for osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis literally means ‘bones with holes’. It occurs when bones loose minerals such as calcium more quickly than the body can replace them. Bones become less dense, loose strength and break more easily.
Osteoporosis is more common in post-menopausal women and older adults. This is because sex hormones that include oestrogen and testosterone have essential roles in maintaining bone health. During menopause the body starts to lose oestrogen that can affect bone density (thickness of the bone).
One of the best ways to prevent and manage osteoporosis is to eat a healthy diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, whole-grains, healthy fats and quality protein.
In particular you should eat lots of calcium-rich foods that include dairy products, fatty fish (eg. salmon/sardines), green leafy vegetables (eg. broccoli, cabbage), tofu, fortified plant-based milks (eg. almond, oat, etc), sesame seeds, tahini, oats, legumes, almonds, and of course hemp seeds! (22)
Getting enough Vitamin D is also important as it regulates calcium absorption in bones. Vitamin D is only found in small amounts in foods (5-10%). The best source of vitamin D is UVB radiation from the sun. UVB radiation levels vary depending on location, time of year, time of day, cloud coverage and the environment.
For most people, adequate vitamin D levels are reached through regular incidental exposure to the sun. Most people maintain adequate vitamin D levels just by spending a few minutes outdoors, most days of the week. However, in late autumn and winter in some southern parts of Australia, UVB exposure is harder to get from the sun and supplementing may be necessary (23).
If you have any questions or need support with your health, feel free to email our head nutritionist Ben at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article does not constitute medical advice and does not take into consideration your personal circumstances. Please see your medical professional before implementing the above.