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Strengthening your bones naturally

MagazineFebruary 1999 (Vol. 9 Issue 11)Strengthening your bones naturally

Choose fresh, natural unrefined organically grown or raised foods

Choose fresh, natural unrefined organically grown or raised foods. Prepare and eat your foods with care and attention.

Emphasise fresh vegetables, organically grown. Plants boost calcium and other mineral content in your body. Include in your diet five to 10 servings daily of dark leafy greens, both cooked and raw; tubers, such as carrots, parsnips, yams, turnips; cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage or cauliflower; all other vegetables; and beans, a good source of cholesterol free protein as well as calcium.Make and consume regularly homemade stocks, made with bones, seafood shells or vegetable scraps, all excellent sources of minerals. Adding a tiny amount of vinegar or wine to the stock while it simmers will drain calcium from the bones or shells.

Eat the softened bones of canned salmon or small fish with bones, such as sardines, smelts and whitebait (baked in a little olive oil).

If you eat meat, cook on the bone, since a little of the calcium will migrate into the meaty part. Chew on the softened wing tips and drumstick ends (or any other bones) of well cooked chicken.

Consume healthful fats, including extra virgin olive oil, unrefined sesame and sunflower oils, coldpressed flaxseed oils, traditional coconut and palm oils, and butter or cream from organically raised cows. The average postmenopausal woman needs about 65 grams of total fat per day.

Drink eight to 10 glasses of water a day, depending upon whether you eat more dry or low water foods such animal protein grains and baked flour products, or high water foods, such as fresh vegetables, fruits and cooked whole grains.

Avoid foods with caffeine: all coffee, black and green tea, chocolate and cola drinks.

Consume two or three servings daily of of good quality plant or animal protein. (Either one can support good health, as long as they are fresh, naturally raised and free of pesticides.) These include fish, organically raised fowl or meat, organic eggs, beans, nuts and seeds or sesame seeds.

If not allergic, include two or three times weekly traditional soy products, such as tofu, unpasturised miso and tempeh. Some studies show that certain phytoestrogens in soy foods slow or stop bone loss (J Nutr, 1996; 126: 161-7; Watlins, et al in Nutritional Bioavailability of Calcium, Constance Kies, ed. Washington DC: American Chemical Society, 1985).

Include high iodine sea vegetables in your diet, which help to counterbalance the thyroid lowering factors of soy products.

Include two or three servings daily of whole grains: brown rice, barley, buckweat or kasha, millet, quinoa, cornmeal, oats and whole wheat if you're not allergic to it. Millet is a good grain for older people as it contains silica, which helps to keep bones supple.

Drink in moderation. Researchers with the Framingham Heart Study, a 40 year long ongoing study of heart disease and its risk in the residents of Framingham, Massachusetts, concluded in their 1988-89 evaluation that alcohol intake of about seven ounces per week appears to be associated with higher bone density in postmenopausal women, possibly because alcohol augments the body's oestrogen levels (Am J Epidemiol, 1995; 142: 485-92). Too much alcohol in men is associated with osteoporosis.

Avoid drugs, particularly steroids and antacids.

Antacids, which are being touted as an osteoporosis preventative, contain calcium carbonate, and provide a large, unbalanced influx of calcium on the human body (Med (Baltimore), 1995; 74: 89-96).

Engage in regular, weight bearing exercise, yoga or Tai Chi, or weight lifting 30 minutes, three or four times a week.


Livial

Coeliac disease

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