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Tiferet Chiropractic


Natural Ways to Improve Bone Health

When asked about preventing osteoporosis and maintaining strong bones, most people talk about their calcium or dairy intake.  However, bones require more than calcium to stay healthy.  Bone is living, growing tissue and your diet affects the health of your bones just as much as it affects the health of your heart, liver, or skin.


Your bones provide the framework that supports your muscles and protects your internal organs.  Bones also perform a variety of other vital functions.  Deep in your bone marrow is where blood cells are produced.  Furthermore, bone is where your body stores important minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and calcium.  Did you catch that there's alot more than just calcium in your bones?  Blood levels of these minerals must be tightly regulated and having an adequate amount stored in your bone insures that your body will always have them when needed.  Finally, bone is extremely important for maintaining proper acid/base balance in your body.  If the pH of your blood starts to move in the wrong direction, your body can remove minerals from your bones to keep the pH of your blood in the normal range.  If fact, maintaining blood pH is so important that your body will sacrifice the health of your bones to keep it in the normal range.


Your bones are always under construction.  At any given moment, small sections of bone are being torn down and then being re-built.  This constant “remodeling” process is what keeps your bones strong and healthy.  If this process is disturbed, your bones may become weak or fragile.


The typical American diet is an assault on the health of your bones because it is rich in omega-6 fatty acids and in foods that tend to lower your body pH into the acidic range.  Omega-6 fatty acids are found in grains (bread, cereal, pasta, crackers), fatty meats (especially corn-fed beef), virtually all processed or fast-foods, and in anything made with vegetable oil (corn, soybean, sunflower, cottonseed, safflower, peanut).  In your body, omega-6 fatty acids are converted to substances that affect bone construction: they increase the amount of bone being torn down and decrease the amount of bone being re-built.  The net effect is bone loss.  Think about your diet – how many foods do you eat each day that are sources of omega-6 fatty acids?


When we talk about acidic and alkaline foods we are talking about the residue that is left behind after the food is digested by your body.  Foods that leave an acidic residue include all meats, cheese, grains, and soft drinks.  Low-fat cheese is one of the most acidic foods.  Alkaline foods include fruits, vegetables, potatoes, and raw nuts.


When you eat foods that are acidic, the residue that they leave behind in your body must be neutralized so that it does not change your blood pH.  Remember, your body will sacrifice almost everything to maintain a normal blood pH.  Therefore, it will remove minerals from your bones to neutralize any acidic residue.  Over time this can lead to bone loss.  Furthermore, when these minerals are removed from bone it creates areas of bone that are now acidic.  This acidic environment affects bone construction in the same way as omega-6 fatty acids: it increases bone being torn down and decreases bone being re-built.  Think about your diet – is it mostly acidic or mostly alkaline?  


Nearly 80% of the typical American diet is composed of foods that create an unhealthy bone environment.  Simply taking a calcium supplement will not reverse the affects of a diet high in omega-6 fatty acids and acidic foods.  Promote better bone health by balancing your intake of acidic and alkaline foods.  A good ratio to aim for is 75% alkaline (fruits, vegetables, raw nuts) and 25% acidic (lean meat, fish, eggs, skinless chicken).  Furthermore, avoid the sources of omega-6 fatty acids listed earlier.  This happens naturally when you avoid processed foods and focus on whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, raw nuts, and lean meats.  Cook with olive oil or canola oil.  Finally, be sure to eat protein at every meal – it’s a crucial building block for strong bones.

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Healthy Bones Summary

Diet composed of 75% fruits & vegetables and 25% lean red meat, skinless chicken, fresh fish


Protein at every meal (about 4 ounces)


Avoid fatty meats, vegetable oils, processed foods, and grains


30 minutes of weight-bearing exercise (walking, aerobics) daily


Snack on mineral-rich foods: raw nuts, raisins, prunes, apricots, dark berries


Supplements that support bone health: calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, fish oil**


     **Always consult a physician before taking a new vitamin or supplement

Racine Chiropractor / Scott T. Sheriff, DC / (262) 554-6869

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