Have you had your glass of milk today?
What about your calcium supplement?
If not, you better make up for it tomorrow lest your bones melt away, right?
Well, not exactly.
Many people have daily rituals or foods they eat in order to keep their bones strong and healthy.
But there's actually more to bone-building than we've all been led to believe.
From a young age, we're taught to consume dairy in order to keep our skeleton super strong.
And, of course, we listened and have been avid dairy consumers for the last 50+ years.
The only problem is current research shows you have to indulge in much more than calcium to keep your bones (and doctor) happy.
Bones are a complex organ system made up of a large concentration of minerals, mainly calcium and phosphorus.
While it's necessary to maintain proper calcium levels in our body for many reasons (including muscle and heart function), there is a common misconception that you only have to do a few things to keep your bones strong and keep osteoporosis at bay.
Researchers have discovered bones not only keep us upright, they act as a mineral reserve helping our body balance its acid-alkaline levels (known as our body's pH).
Why is this important?
The acid-alkaline balance can be affected by dietary and lifestyle choices.
So, for example, anyone who consumes the very acidic standard North American diet (SAD) for a prolonged period of time will throw their body's pH balance off.
In order to help restore the body's pH, the mineral stores found in the bones will begin to leach effectively depleting the strength of the bones themselves.
Thus, a constant supply of acid-forming foods' coffee, red meats, sweets, processed foods, etc.' can actually be more of a cause of bone density depletion than forgetting to take your calcium supplement in the morning.
And don't forget about the essential synergy that trace minerals provide to your bones.
Trace minerals are present in our skeleton in smaller amounts, but play an essential role in bone strength and warding off osteoporosis.
When looking for a good bone support supplement, don't just look for one containing calcium.
If you're truly in need of nutritional bone support, be sure to find a product that contains boron, copper, magnesium, manganese and vitamin-D.
Calcium comes in many different versions and, as a result, is absorbed by the body in different ways.
Finding a product that contains MCHC (Microcrystalline Hydroxyapatite Complex), which is one of the most absorbable forms of calcium, will do your bones a world of good.
The most important thing you should be doing to ensure optimal bone health is to stay active.
If you don't move it, you lose it.
Make sure you're getting optimal amounts of weight-bearing exercise.
If needed, meet with a personal trainer to discuss appropriate exercises for your body type.
Foods to Help Prevent Osteoporosis
Changing your diet can be an effective, gentle, inexpensive and even delicious way to prevent, relieve or reverse osteoporosis.
If you're at risk for or have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, consider adding these calcium-rich foods to your diet:
Milk and other dairy products provide loads of calcium, the number one go-to nutrient for bone health and preventing osteoporosis.
Your heart, blood, muscles and nerves need calcium to function properly.
If your diet doesn’t include enough calcium to replace what’s used, it will take it from your bones, leaving them weakened and prone to fracture.
Also, skim milk is fortified with vitamin-D, which works hand-in-hand with calcium to build bones.
Choose skim milk instead of whole.
It has fewer calories (90 versus 150 per 8-oz. serving) and less fat (0 grams versus 8 g.).
Other calcium-rich dairy foods: Low-fat or nonfat yogurt, cheese, calcium-fortified cottage cheese.
Try this: Turn canned mushroom soup into a creamy, calcium-rich meal by stirring in skim milk instead of water.
Calcium-Fortified Orange Juice
Don’t care for milk?
Or does the lactose in it bother your belly?
No problem as calcium-fortified OJ is a good substitute.
It contains as much calcium as milk and it delivers a day’s worth of vitamin-C, which is essential for the formation of collagen, a vital component of bone matrix.
Your best bet are juices that are fortified with vitamin-D as well as calcium.
Other calcium-fortified foods: Some brands of soy milk, rice milk, cereal, bread.
Try this: Use orange juice as a key ingredient in a marinade for pork tenderloin.
Marinate meat in a mixture of orange juice, Dijon mustard, garlic, reduced-sodium soy sauce and honey.”
These spicy greens are among the best plant sources of calcium.
A 3/4-cup serving of cooked collards contains about as much calcium as a glass of milk.
Collards also contain vitamin-K, which contributes to bone health.
Choose fresh collards with small, firm leaves and no holes or yellowish spots, or buy frozen chopped collards.
Other calcium-rich veggies: Turnip greens, kale, okra, Chinese cabbage, dandelion greens, mustard greens, and broccoli (but not spinach, which contains a compound called oxalic acid that inhibits calcium absorption).
Try this: Sizzle up a simple stir-fry side dish.
In a nonstick fry-pan, saute Canadian bacon and onion in olive oil; add collard greens, veggie or chicken broth and canned white beans; bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes, until collard greens are wilted.
Peanuts, almonds, cashews, soybeans and their butters are all terrific sources of magnesium, which plays an important part in how your body uses calcium.
Without adequate magnesium, the hormones that regulate calcium metabolism can’t do their job properly.
Choose unsalted dry-roasted nuts without added oils or salt.
Other magnesium-rich foods: Halibut, potatoes, oatmeal, wheat bran, bananas.
Try this: Whip up a magnesium-rich smoothie by blending a cup of soy milk, a banana, a tablespoon of peanut butter, and a couple of ice cubes.
This fatty fish is a delicious source of vitamin-D, which helps the body metabolize and absorb the calcium in food.
Vitamin-D is converted to its active form in the kidneys, enabling it to help with calcium absorption.
For an extra osteoporosis prevention boost, select canned salmon with bones and eat them!
They’re so small you’ll hardly notice them, and they’re loaded with calcium.
Other vitamin-D rich fish: Mackerel, tuna, sardines.
Try this: At snack time, make a vitamin-D rich salmon spread with canned salmon, low-fat mayonnaise, chopped apples and chopped celery.
Serve on whole-grain crackers.
Sweet potatoes are a fabulous source of potassium, which research suggests may boost bone health and help prevent osteoporosis.
Studies have found that people whose diet contains plenty of potassium have denser bones.
They also lose less calcium in their urine.
Opt for fresh sweet potatoes, or, if you buy canned or frozen varieties, pick varieties that aren’t loaded with lots of added sugar and fat.
Other potassium-rich foods: Tomato paste and other tomato products, potatoes, beet greens, white beans, yogurt, bananas.
Try this: Forget the french fries, make tasty sweet potato fries instead.
Cut sweet potatoes into half-inch thick strips and toss with olive oil, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 40 minutes, or until tender.
The sodium in table salt, soy sauce and other salty seasonings can leach calcium from bones and lead to bone loss.
You can protect your bones without sacrificing flavor by replacing salt with tasty spices and dried or fresh herbs such as chili powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, coriander and ground pepper.
Dried herb and spice mixes give food a jolt of flavor, but be sure to choose sodium-free varieties.
Other good sources of sodium-free flavor: Onion, garlic, vinegars, lemon juice, lemon and orange zest.
Try this: Fancy up your favorite fish.
Combine oregano and basil for an Italian blend, or cumin and paprika for a spicy southwestern flavor.
Use it to season fish on both sides, then saute in a nonstick skillet.
And as always be sure to discuss any changes in your health-care regime with your doctor so you can maximize your get-healthy potential.Tweet
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