While our human experience where health is concerned can vary quite a bit, there is no denying that spinal strength, bone & cardiovascular health should be at the top of every humans list for living a long, elongated and healthy life.
We exercise our heart and build cardiovascular strength by working the heart muscle during vigorous activity. We support spinal strength with strong, long muscles through core stability work and light weight or body weight balance work.
But how do we support the health of our bones? We lose about .5% of our bone mass each year after 40 and this chronic bone loss can lead to low bone mineral density (deteriorated bone tissue) = Osteoporosis. Fractures from Osteoporosis are common and this disease will usually progress without symptoms. Us ladies dramatic bone mass loss during menopause when hormone levels change.
We can increase bone formation though by simply putting strain on the body! This is great news, it means that for most of us, the power is in our hands to keep our bones strong for life with a little help from some of my friends below.
There are a myriad of supplements that we can choose to take in order to try and assist with bone strength and general health. Not all supplements are created equal AND you must note that some just do not work or aren’t bio-available enough to make a great impact. Here are my favourite supplements below:
- Once daily multivitamin
- 1000-1200 mg calcium daily
- 500-600 mg magnesium daily (I take a ZMA every night which includes this)
- 1000-2000 IU vitamin D3 daily
- 1 mg Vitamin K daily
- Daily anti-oxidant
- Flaxseed meal
- Silicon 10mg daily
- B12 1000 mcg 2x/week sublingual preferred
- Creatine – optional, not a lot of study done here
Note: medications used in the treatment of depression, breast cancer, heartburn, ulcers and diabetes can interfere with hormonal signals of bone turnover or they affect mineral use and absorption. Have a look at your medicine cabinet and see if the culprit lies within! To add prolonged use of low dose birth control and prednisone.
As in the listing of supplements above, you will be looking for foods high in calcium, vitamin d etc…..our bones keep about 99% of our body’s calcium to rebuild. We also need to make sure that we are not eating foods or taking medications that directly impact our ability to uptake calcium and other minerals. Foods that contain phytates (seeds, grains & nuts) and oxalates (spinach, rhubard, sweet potatoes & walnuts) are these culprits.
While this doesn’t mean that Spinach is bad for you, this means that Spinach isn’t the most wise choice for our source of calcium due to is oxalate content. A good second choice: broccoli, bok choy & kale.
Protein!!! Why am I always nagging you about protein??? Well, it makes up 20-30% of your bone mass. If you’re Vegan like me or even Vegetarian, you might not be getting enough. 20g at each meal 5-6 times per day minimum is a good goal without doing math or over thinking it. Higher protein intake leads to higher calcium absorption. HIgh calcium, high protein is a sure way to maintain bone health.
Good foods: Fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds – flavonoid city which equals oxidation prevention ~ dried plums are huge for this. Foods that are highly alkaline keep the body from becoming too inflamed and bump up our HGH (human growth hormone) levels. Read my article on 12 Steps to Naturally Boost HGH HERE . Good fats also help us to control inflammation but so far there is no one study that can unequivocally prove which is the best. I stick with unrefined coconut oil.
Everyone has their own preference for exercise however, there are a few things that we should be doing on a regular basis to ensure we are helping to stimulate bone growth. Plyometric style training and weight training are two of the most important and weight training at the very least should be subscribed to at 2x per week minimum. My “bare minimum” suggestions are below:
- Jump Squats (weighted or not)
- HIIT exercise or at minimum jumping jacks
- Deadlifts (start light and go heavy as you can)
- Lunges (forward, reverse, side) weighted
- Step ups (weighted)
- Back extensor exercise & good posture – Superman from the floor
Caffeine appears to be harmful for bones so no more than 2 cups per day would be a safe way to go. Unfortunately for me, I’ll have to really amp up the other areas of my life because I typically have at least 2 large coffees per day minimum.
Overdosing on irradiated “traditional” salt is awful, especially if you’re not exerting enough energy to require a large electrolyte replacement. Full spectrum salt on all meals…ONLY if you’re doing the work to earn it ie: sweating.
Totally avoid foods : processed meat, fast food (pizza, burgers, tacos, fries), reduced-calorie frozen meals, canned soups, baked products including bread & breakfast cereal (this is all due to sodium so check your labels, maybe your favourite brand isn’t that bad).
Totally avoid bevvies: soda, diet soda, milk, yogurt drinks.
In summary, it’s important that when we’re approaching life from a Wholistic viewpoint we ensure balance is achieved. For some, eradicating all offensive foods would be easy, for others this simply would create emotional turmoil in their lives. So, as I say to my clients “Here is the goal……and over here is reality. Lets work toward our goals slowly & surely to avoid backsliding”.
To you and your healthy bones!
xx – S