Happy Fall, and joyful season of Thanksgiving! Today is Halloween, a day for maximizing Treats and minimizing Tricks! This Blog is a continuation of my blog of October 24th on building strong bones for life.
Today, I will outline 2 of the most critical strategies for you to implement today to reclaim your bone health and stay strong, regardless of your current status and age!
To review, Here is the short list of the many factors that contribute to osteoporosis and low bone density. These are the ones that we can control.
- An Inflammatory diet,- Sadly, what most of us are eating; along with
Poor nutritional status or nutrient deficiencies ( Mineral deficiencies, Vitamin D….)
- A Sedentary lifestyle and inadequate weight-bearing exercise; loss of lean muscle, also called Sarcopenia
- Excessive soda or alcohol consumption
High-stress levels ( increased cortisol)
- Leaky gut, food sensitivities, and Celiac disease.
- Certain Medications
- Hormonal Imbalances
First, let’s dive into Nutrition and our Inflammatory Standard American Diet (SAD)!
Trick #1 It would not be an exaggeration to say that many of the foods we eat should scare us! Food manufacturing giants have mastered the science of creating fake, highly palatable foods that stimulate the “bliss point” in our brains and hijack our pleasure and reward centers. Many of these foods are high in sugar, salt and unhealthy fats and are designed to be addictive in nature.
Sugar is one of the most inflammatory and acidic foods we can eat. Excessive amounts of added sugar is a problem for our bones, not to mention just about every other bodily system from our heart, and blood vessels to our brain.
Processed foods contain large amounts of added sugars, as well as many other unsavory, and down right toxic substances that are harmful to our bone health.
If we are to win the battle of our bones, we must break our addiction to sugar and processed foods that are so prevalent in the SAD. I know this is bad news.
So, what should we eat for healthy, strong, fracture resistant bones?
Treat #1 Nutrient dense, bony building Foods! Foods to include in a bone healthy diet: Plenty of green vegetables, fruits in moderation, adequate protein in the form of lean, grass fed meats or high omega 3 fish such as wild salmon, and sardines.
Foods high in calcium and magnesium are natural winners. Foods like swiss chard, collards, bok choy, spinach, almonds, sesame seeds and chia seeds are great sources of calcium, magnesium and many phytochemicals and anti-oxidants needed for warding off bone loss, increasing alkalinity in the body and reducing inflammation. Win-Win!
What about dairy?
Current scientific studies no longer support the consumption of large amounts of dairy for bone health. In one of the largest studies of our time, The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study, it was concluded that women who drank 2 or more glasses of milk per day had a 45% greater risk of hip fractures compared to those consuming only 1 glass per week.
I want to emphasize that building a healthy skeleton requires much more than simply calcium. In fact, you need at least 18 other nutrients to build healthy bone! Taking calcium as a supplement in isolation of these other nutrients can actually be harmful. Two nutrients that are instrumental to building bone are Vitamin D and Vitamin K2.
Vitamin D as cholecalciferol or D3, is more biologically active than D2 or ergocalciferol. D3 enhances the uptake of calcium and phosphorous into the bone and stimulates osteocalcin, an important protein in bone. Osteocalcin acts as a “glue” that helps calcium bind to the mineral matrix of bone, resulting in stronger bones. So, you can be literally marinating in calcium but with out D3 and other nutrients you will not absorb it. D3 is also a super hero for our immune system.
K2 also has an important role of activating osteocalcin. K2 keeps calcium out of the arteries and in the bones. K2 also stimulates the bone building cells called osteoblasts.
My next favorite topic for maintaining strong bones and overall health is Exercise!
Treat #2 EXERCISE Like your bones depended on it! Because they do!
Of course, if your remote control has gotten more of a work out than you have, and you haven’t exercised in awhile or have other health conditions, you will need to be cleared by your doctor.
In a nutshell, without sufficient bone loading exercise ( weight bearing and weight lifting) you can do everything else right but will lack the sufficient stress needed to build bone mass.
As we age the natural tendency is to lose lean muscle. That is, if we do not take the deliberate steps to keep muscle strong. When we do not intentionally work at building muscle we will begin losing it fairly rapidly, and this is termed “Sarcopenia”, which literally means “poverty of flesh”. This increases your risk of osteoporosis, frailty, falls, and fractures.
Regardless of your age, you can maintain and even build strong muscles that last a lifetime, it has been proven in numerous studies. If you already have low bone density like osteopenia or osteoporosis, it is not too late. I was able to reverse osteopenia in my spine and hips with lifestyle and dietary changes.
Bone growth will only occur when large muscles contract and place direct stress on our bones. Any exercise that loads the large muscles of the hips, legs, core, back and shoulder girdle can ward off bone loss and even reverse bone loss that accompanies sarcopenia and aging. Some examples are walking, squats, high intensity resistance training, and sitting to standing exercises.
In summary, osteoporosis is evidence of “body wide” inflammation and dysfunction caused by many factors, most of which are within our control.
This blog and the last are a short introduction to building strong bones and reversing low bone density conditions. I cover Osteoporosis, and how we can stay healthy for life in my soon to be released book, Staying Healthy, Living Longer, 7 Powerful Principles for a Healthier You!
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me: https://mdtherapyandwellness.com
Thanks for reading! 😊