What’s required to build strong bones? Calcium? Boron? Exercise? Let’s look at some of the myths – and the magic – for building strong bones.
Dairy foods? Dairy foods build strong bones, right? Wrong! The United States is a country that consumes dairy foods in excess of most other countries in the world – and also exceeds most countries in the incidence of osteoporosis. In more than 30 worldwide studies, scientists find that a diet high in dairy foods contributes to higher rates of bone loss and fractures at all ages. There are multiple reasons for a causal association. Dairy foods do not build strong bones.
Calcium? Has a physician, nutrition consultant or well-meaning friend told you to take calcium to build strong bones? Well, shame on them, unless they also told you to take 1-2 times as much magnesium as you do calcium – and/or eat the foods that provide both minerals in a natural balance! Excessive calcium intake, in the absence of sufficient magnesium, can contribute to arthritis, atherosclerosis, gallstones, and other calcification problems – and not yield strong bones.
Balanced minerals! What foods provide a good balance of magnesium, calcium, and the other minerals required for bone-building? Try nuts and seeds (sprouted, of course); green leafy vegetables like broccoli, kale, collards, and turnip greens; herbs like parsley, basil, thyme, oregano, and peppermint; vegetables such as summer squash, green beans, dried beans, mushrooms; and fish and seafood. Real food! Yes, real foods, without excessive processing, contain the natural balance of magnesium and calcium and a complex of trace minerals, supporting the construction of strong bones. You just need to eat enough of these bone-building foods to balance the acidifying and bone-degrading effects of excessive grains, sugars, and inflammatory proteins (from grain-fed – rather than naturally fed – fish, cattle and poultry).
Vibration and electricity! Two extremely important factors for bone-building and bone strength are vibration and electricity. It won’t work to plug yourself into the nearest wall outlet! You induce vibration in your bones by walking, dancing, tapping your heels on the floor or ground, standing on a vertical vibration device – almost any non-static weight bearing activity. And that vibration induces electrical flow in muscles and bones, strengthening both by stimulating repair and regeneration. It doesn’t matter whether you’re seated and tapping your heels to music, or dancing exuberantly. Vibration is induced, which then induces electrical flow in the body, which then induces bone and muscle regeneration. How easy is that?
Sunshine! We can’t talk about bone health without mentioning sunshine, which promotes the production of Vitamin D, essential to proper metabolism for bone regeneration. If solar exposure is not your preferred or available option and you take Vitamin D as a supplement, remember that as little as 10-15 minutes of sun weekly will potentiate your Vitamin D supplementation for even better impact.
Positive thinking! Depression and stress are both detrimental to bone density, by affecting the bone building process. A simple daily gratitude practice helps build better bones.
The Real Magic Find what works for you. Of course, walking briskly for 20 minutes will induce stronger vibration and electrical flow than tapping your heels for 10 minutes. Adding light weights around your waist (belt) or shoulders (vest) during any weight-bearing exercise increases the bone benefit. Walking in sunshine is more beneficial than an indoor treadmill session, but the treadmill may offer more safety. The choice is yours. Select what you enjoy, and what you will do often. The real magic is finding – and doing – what works for you.
– Dr M