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Keeping Strong Healthy Bones for a Long Active Life

We all want to trust that our bodies will keep up with our desire

for activity and adventure in life. But when diagnosed with

osteoporosis or osteopenia, the strength of our bones becomes

questionable. Along with many other conditions that are considered

parts of aging, there is a great deal of prevention we can do to

help work toward having a long active life.

 

Caucasian women who are post-menopausal are the most likely group

to develop a weakness of the bone integrity where the bone density

has diminished. Often this can go undiagnosed for many years.

Once it reaches a certain point, the risk of fracture is much

higher and bones are also more difficult to repair. Osteoporosis

can result in increased pain, postural changes, deformity and

disability.

 

Typically the recommendation for building strong bones is to have

plenty of calcium in one’s diet. Unfortunately the idea that

eating dairy products regularly will benefit the bones is largely a

myth (1). Diets high in animal proteins tend to increase the

incidence of osteoporosis (2) as the proteins obstruct the ability

of the body to utilize the calcium.  Foods high in phosphorus (such

as soda pop and milk) tend to be harmful to bones as well as salt

and caffeine. (3,4)

 

Calcium rich foods that are great for your overall health include

fish (sardines, salmon), green leafy vegetables (kale, chard,

spinach, collard greens, bok choy, etc…) and legumes (pinto beans,

mung beans, black beans, etc…) (5).

 

According to Chinese medicine, the bones are an expression of our

kidney yang energy, which correlates to our deepest energy source.

Protecting our essential energy by living a moderate, low stress

life is then great advice for protecting our bones. Consider the

choices that are made on a daily basis and evaluate if they are

sustainable for long-term health.

 

Dr Hart’s list of Osteopenia/Osteoporosis DO’s and DON’TS:

 

DO: Exercise daily! Weight bearing exercise is as simple as going

for a walk. Yoga balancing poses are especially helpful. 15-30

minutes daily is a must.

 

DO: Eat leafy green vegetables every day.

 

DO: Supplement quality minerals. 1,000mg calcium, 400mg

magnesium, 25mg zinc and 3mg copper.

 

DO: Alkalinize your diet. Reduce simple carbohydrates (breads,

pastas, etc), limit animal protein and sugar consumption. Start

your day with a big glass of water with a squeeze of lemon in it.

 

DO: Enjoy mineral rich herbal tea. Nettle leaf, alfalfa, budock

root and licorice root are all nutritive herbs that are generally

safe to consume on a regular basis and taste great.

 

DON’T: Consume caffeine on a daily basis. Coffee particularly

affects calcium due to the high acidity.

 

DON’T: Increase dairy consumption to gain calcium.

 

DON’T: Overdo it. Excess stress will deplete your energy.

 

DON’T: Smoke cigarettes. Nicotine and other toxins are found to

damage bone health.

 

DON’T: Put off taking care of yourself. Prevention is still the

best medicine!

 

And finally,

 

DO: Consult with your favorite Naturopathic Physician to help

create a personalized plan to support the health of your bones and

the overall you!

 

By Sara Hart, ND, MSOM, LAc

 

References:

 

1. Folden Palmer, Linda. Bone Density: The Big Dairy Fallacy.

Dynamic Chiropractic

Jan 1, 2002; Volume 20 (1)

2. Abelow BJ, Holford TR, Insogna KL. Cross-cultural associations

between dietary animal protein and hip fracture: a hypothesis.

Calcif Tissue Int 1992;50:14-18.

3. Zarkadas M, Geougeon-Reyburn R, Marliss EB, et al. Sodium

chloride supplementation and urinary calcium excretion in

postmenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr 1989;50:1088-94.

4. Hernandez-Avila M, Colditz GA, Stampfer MJ, et al. Caffeine,

moderate alcohol intake, and risk of fractures of the hip and

forearm in middle-aged women. Am J Clin Nutr 1991;54:157-63.

5. Marz, Russel. Medical nutrition from Marz. Omnivite Nutrition,

Portland, Or 1992.