Most people think of calcium as the No. 1 factor in bone health—and for good reason: A recent study done by the National Institutes of Health found that half of all Americans are literally starving their bones of calcium—most of us aren’t even getting half the amount our bodies require. But protecting your bones is not simply a matter of popping a calcium supplement every day. To minimize bone loss as you age, you need to follow a complete program that includes a healthy diet along with regular exercise. The best way to protect yourself from osteoporosis is to prevent it from happening in the first place—and there are many smart, natural ways to do just that.
Diet plays a big role in caring for osteoporosis. You should eat plenty of calcium-rich foods, but contrary to what we’ve been told all these years, milk actually isn’t the best or most absorbable source of calcium. Green leafy vegetables like spinach and collard greens are much better sources.
And to help calcium do its job, throw some red and purple berries into your diet too. Cherries, raspberries, and blueberries all contain phytochemicals that have special healing properties and may help to stabilize collagen structure, which is calcium’s foundation for building strong bones and teeth.
The first food you need to stay away from is sugar. Excessive refined sugar in your system will wreak havoc on your phosophorous level and your body requires adequate phosphorus in order to absorb calcium.
Another item to cut back on is alcohol. Too much alcohol affects the gastrointestinal tract and limits its ability to absorb calcium.
Limiting animal protein will also help you keep more calcium in your system. When you eat a lot of meat, your body releases an increased amount of calcium into your urine. Salt also causes your body to lose some of its calcium supply each time you urinate, so try to limit your sodium intake as well.
And in addition to the foods listed above, some of the same herbs used to treat menopause symptoms—dong quai, fennel, and wild yam—can also help protect your bones.
Michele Cagan is the Editor of the Health Sciences Institute Members Alert, a monthly health newsletter with approximately 200,000 paid subscribers, dedicated to presenting natural and alternative cures. The Members Alert covers a wide range of diseases and conditions including depression, weight loss, insomnia, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, fibromyalgia, aging, Alzheimer’s disease, adrenal fatigue, and dozens more.
Ms. Cagan tracks down the sources of these natural cures in the Amazon rainforest, along the shores of the Sea of Galilee, in the Siberian tundra, and atop the Himalayas. From medicinal mushrooms to Traditional Chinese herbs to Ayurvedic treasures, Ms. Cagan seeks the most trusted natural cures, backed by centuries of effectiveness and modern science.
Ms. Cagan also authored the alternative health book, Act 50 Think 40 Feel 30 - The Doctor's Secrets to Living Younger Everyday with Allan Spreen, M.D.
In addition, Ms. Cagan created the Health e-Living Letter (an online health column on the benefits of natural remedies), HSI On the Spot (an alternative health blog), and Code Red (an urgent e-letter informing subscribers about newly discovered adverse events), along with special in-depth reports on critical alternative cures. Ms. Cagan is also a featured contributor on HealthierTalk.com.
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