With more than 40 million Americans at increased risk for bone fracture, it’s good to know that osteoporosis is a preventable and treatable disease.
Low-acid eating, a diet laden with high alkaline fruits and vegetables but relatively low in acid-producing protein and moderate in cereal grains can help fight osteoporosis. A Low-acid, high alkaline diet plan could lead to stronger bones than the typical American diet rich in dairy products and animal protein, often enhanced by calcium supplements.
Understanding Your Bones
Our Bones are not indestructable. They are continually being broken down and rebuilt, and when breakdown exceeds buildup, they get progressively weaker. Vital to the solid framework of the body, bones play an equally important metabolic role hidden from casual observation.
Bones are the storage tank for calcium compounds that regulate the acid-base balance of the blood, which must be maintained within a very narrow range. When the blood becomes even slightly too acid, alkaline calcium compounds — like calcium carbonate, the acid-neutralizer in Tums — are leached from bones to reduce the acidity.
Studies conducted at the Jean Mayer U.S.D.A. Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, have demonstrated the acid-neutralizing ability of fruits and vegetables and the crucial role they can play in maintaining healthy bones.
According to Carol S. Lutz, Ph.D from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill: By the age of 20, the average woman has acquired most of her peak bone mass; therefore, it is important that young girls and college-age women achieve as much bone mass as possible. A person with high bone mass as a young adult will be more likely to maintain bone health throughout life.
Research notes that fruits and vegetables are predominantly metabolized to alkaline bicarbonate, whereas proteins and cereal grains are metabolized to acids. The more protein people consume beyond the body’s true needs, the more acidic their blood can become and the more alkaline compounds are needed to neutralize the acid.
In one study by Dr. Bess Dawson-Hughes and colleagues, published in January 2009 in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 171 healthy men and women age 50 and older were treated with either bicarbonate or no bicarbonate. Those receiving bicarbonate, in an amount equivalent to nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily, experienced much lower levels of calcium loss in the urine, as well as a loss of N-telopeptide, the biochemical marker of bone resorption.
Recommendations of nine servings of alkaline fruits and vegetables is shown to lower blood pressure and has been linked to a reduced risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, some cancers and Alzheimer’s disease. Now prevention of osteoporosis might be added to the list.
In “Building Bone Vitality,” by Amy Joy Lanou, an assistant professor of health and wellness at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, and Michael Castleman, a health writer, say…
“Animal foods, especially cheeses and meats, don’t contain much alkaline material” and hardly enough to “neutralize all the acids they introduce into the bloodstream; the body must draw calcium compounds from bone to restore optimal blood pH,” a measure of acidity. On the other hand, the alkaline material in fruits and vegetables, which are low in protein, can buffer that acidity.
Eat animal protein moderately and Eat more plant-based proteins
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that higher intakes of fruits and vegetables throughout the teen years improve bone density in adulthood. An array of nutrients—vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and magnesium—found abundantly in fruits, vegetables, and other plant foods, have been shown to promote bone health.
Vitamin C from citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers, are essential for making collagen, the connective tissue that minerals cling to when bone is formed.
Vitamin K is thought to stimulate bone formation. It is found most abundantly in dark leafy greens like kale and spinach, but is also readily available in beans, soy products, and some fruits and vegetables.
Potassium decreases the loss of calcium from the body and increases the rate of bone building. Oranges, bananas, potatoes, and beans are all rich sources of potassium.
Magnesium and calcium, are vital bone minerals. Higher magnesium intakes aids in fighting osteoporosis. Eat your “Beans and greens” — legumes and green leafy vegetables — they are excellent sources of magnesium.
Vitamin D is also needed for strong bones. In a regular american diet, many people get less than half the calcium they need. A healthy diet with enough calcium and vitamin D helps make your bones strong. Plus, get lots of sunshine too.
Foods High in Vitamin D:
Cod liver oil
Shiitake and Button Mushrooms
Fish: Wild Salmon, Wild Tuna, Herring (non-farm raised)
True Whole Milk, Cultured and Probiotic
Vitamin D Supplement
Finally, Exercise helps your bones grow stronger. To increase bone strength you don’t even need an expensive gym membership, you can: walk, hike, jog, climb stairs, lift weights, play tennis, and dance. Happy Living!