We all want to eat healthy − and do all the right things to be our best selves. But what does that even mean? Many great intentions get placed on the back burner, because just figuring out what "right" is... becomes too overwhelming.
When it comes to bone health, it has always been about calcium. Just increase calcium. Simple? LOL. Not so much. Increasing calcium is extremely important − but it's not the only thing. It has to go hand in hand with reducing sodium, moderating protein, increasing vitamin K − as well as potassium − working out (!!) and even getting some sun (Vitamin D).
I know... here we go again with info overload. But, it's actually pretty simple; and, following the basic rules will make your bones stronger regardless of age... you can add bone mass even when you are 80!
BODY BASICS Your body requires a certain level of calcium in its blood. What a lot of people don't realize is that we lose some of the calcium we eat through urine, sweat, and internal secretions. So our calcium intake has to become part of an equation: how much goes in vs. how much goes out. Because bottom line − if you don't put enough calcium in to maintain a healthy balance, then your body starts fetching it from your bones to satisfy its blood/calcium requirement. The result? Weakened bones.
THE EQUATION Here's some food for thought. The more salt you eat, the more calcium you lose. The more protein you eat, the more calcium you lose. If you don't get enough potassium, you will lose calcium. So the search is on for foods that are nutritious and balance these variables in an optimal way for your bone health.
THE DAIRY PARADOX And about milk... We've been taught over and over again that by increasing milk and dairy products, we increase calcium intake, and therefore we build strong, healthy bones. And yes, dairy products are high in calcium. But (always that but!) scientific studies show that they also promote calcium loss. Because dairy products acidify our body pH, our bodies immediately work to correct the "problem." And calcium is the very acid neutralizer the body uses... getting it directly from the bones. Oh, irony!
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BEST BONE HEALTH (keeping it simple) Okay, so what should you eat for optimal bone health? Here are some beneficial bone basics.
Increase the following:
And reduce the following:
In addition to a healthy calcium-rich and calcium-supporting diet, we need Vitamin D (for calcium absorption). Get a little sun − just short exposures (15 minutes at a pop) will do it. And here's some nice news! Losing too much weight after menopause is a risk factor for bone trouble. A little extra weight allows the body to produce female hormones, using that fat. An older woman has a different body from a teenager for a reason... And curves are beautiful.
I love the healthy bone food choices − it often breaks down to cleaner, more natural eating. And it feels great to know we can fuel our bodies, strengthen our bones, and celebrate healthy each day! You are never too old to replenish your bones; and really, it doesn't get better than that.