Bone Breakers and Bone Builders
By Nancy Mehlert, MS
Bone Breakers – Here are foods that suck the life and strength from your bones.
- Sugar – When cellular glucose (sugar) levels rise too high from consuming sugar, the body cannot completely process it, resulting in the formation of acids which over-acidify the body. The body reacts by pulling calcium and magnesium from the bones and tissues to buffer acidic blood. In this way, we deplete our stores of calcium and magnesium. Calcium is the most prevalent mineral in the body and magnesium is required for hundreds of chemical reactions in the body.
- Phosphoric Acid – Used to add tangy flavor and prevent mold in otherwise sugary substances, phosphoric acid is found in large quantity in soft drinks and is also added to bottled and canned iced teas, bottled and canned coffee beverages, breakfast cereal bars, non-diary creamers and enhanced chicken and meat products. Increased phosphorus in the body decreases calcium levels. Research has pointed heavily to destruction of bone health from overconsumption of soft drinks. Also, as the name suggests, it is acidic to the human body, so again, see the section above about sugar and the problem with acidity.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – Really? You ask. While there are some benefits of apple cider vinegar, sometimes more is not better! According to Dr. Mercola1, long-term and excessive use of this highly acidic substance could potentially cause low potassium levels and lower bone density. Because it is acidic, it can also impact your tooth enamel as well as tissues in the mouth and throat.
- Imbalanced Diet – Optimal body functioning occurs in an alkaline state and this is created by many of the Bone Building Foods listed below. If you tend to consume a great deal of meat, dairy, processed grains of all kinds, sugary and processed foods and beverages which contain processed salt and sugar, it’s not likely you could consume enough alkalizing vegetables and fruits, herbs and clean water to offset the damage and inflammation created by the consequent acidity of such a diet. It’s interesting that the Standard American Diet has traditionally recommended 5+ servings of grains per day (which in our country are almost all highly processed into breads, cereals, crackers, snack food), 3+ servings of dairy per day, an emphasis on meat that is grain fed and antibiotic/hormone laden and little to no restriction on sugar. Hence, lifestyle diseases. Balance is the key.
Bone Building Foods – Here are the foods that should make up the preponderance of our diets, supplemented with some animal foods such as grass-fed meats, pasture raised eggs and wild caught seafood. They promote alkalinity (they are alkaline forming even if they taste acidic) and/or provide the complex variety of essential minerals, vitamins and nutrients needed to build healthy bones.
- Clean pure water, free of fluoride, chlorination and other contaminants. Clean water is very alkalizing and essential to life.
- Vegetables – while all vegetables are alkalizing, the greens are especially helpful including lettuces, kale, spinach, field greens, collard, mustard and beet greens, cabbage, spirulina, chlorella and most herbs. Squash and root vegetables are also helpful.
- Fruits – In moderation, particularly alkalizing fruits include lemon, grapefruit, and avocado. Most fruits, if eaten at peak ripeness, are alkalizing, but if eaten too early can be quite acidic.
- Nuts and Seeds – Nuts provide many of the micronutrients needed to build strong bones, including many minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, selenium (Brazil nuts), copper (almonds), boron (walnuts) and zinc (pumpkin seeds and cashews).
- Bone Broth –when made in the old traditional method through a slow simmering of bones and joints, bone broth is full of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other bone building nutrients.
- Fermented Foods – Vitamin K2 is a fat- soluble vitamin whose primary role is to move calcium into proper areas such as bone and teeth, and to prevent it from accumulating where it should not be, such as in the kidneys or arteries. This vitamin is produced by your gut bacteria and very difficult to get in your diet or through supplementation. An ideal way to maintain a healthy gut, sustain a good level of favorable bacteria in the gut, which in turn produces K2, is to consume fermented foods with those bacteria in them. Almost any veggie can be fermented, though cabbage is the most well-known, in the form of sauerkraut.
So there you have it. When it comes to what you eat, real whole food that includes a balanced diet largely inclusive of vegetables, nuts and seeds and moderate amounts of meats and fruits will contribute to good health, all the way down to your bones.