7 Habits for Healthy Bones (Re-Thinking Dairy and Calcium)

osteoporosis

Good morning everyone and happy Monday!

In my 20’s, the health concerns of mid-life seemed like a million years away. My thoughts on heart disease or osteoporosis, two common health concerns of middle aged women, is that they would ever affect me. And so far, they haven’t. But that may be because a wise doctor once told me; “start now. Don’t wait until middle age to strengthen your bones or protect your heart. By then, it may be too late. The time to act is now.”

Funny enough, I had been using eye cream beneath my eyes for years by then in the hopes it would keep me aging too quickly on the outside. It never occurred to me that I should do the same for my insides. My excuse? I was a miserable pharmacist and less aware of how I cared for myself. But I’ve woken up since then and I see clearly that it is far easier to stay well than to get well.

Twenty years ago the main treatment modality for the prevention of osteoporosis was calcium supplementation and exercise. Dairy products were consumed in huge quantities as well because there was less understanding of the potential gastrointestinal challenges that dairy presents. Vitamin D had not yet become the superstar nutrient it is now, and green drinks were gross concoctions enjoyed by the hippy fringe. Thankfully, times have changed…

In today’s video, I am going to share with you 7 vital habits you need to start working on today to help protect and maintain your bone density. No matter where you are on the nutritional spectrum, whether full on organic vegan or junk-food junkie, you need to educate yourself on what you can do to protect and maintain healthy bone. And it’s not just your bones that will benefit, but also your heart and your entire system.

In addition, I briefly review the potential challenges of dairy and calcium supplementation so that you can then speak with your health care practitioner and educate yourself on what the best approach would be for you.

Once you’ve watched the video, I’d love to hear from you! Have you ever been diagnosed with osteoporosis or it’s precursor, osteopenia? If so, what nutritional modality did you employ to help you maintain your bones? And if you’re still in your 20’s or 30’s what do you do to help keep your bones healthy well into your 50’s? Let me know in the comments below.

I am always grateful to share Monday’s with you! I hope you have a spectacular day!
xo
B

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23 comments on “7 Habits for Healthy Bones (Re-Thinking Dairy and Calcium)

  1. Celeste

    Hi Barbara, This is another great and Oh-so-important Motivational Monday focus. Thanks for highlighting the best ways to continue to support our bones. Sometimes it seems like a never ending battle to keep things in check. You mention eating dark leafy greens, which I do, especially kale. I read a short article focusing some controversy about kale. I didn’t know if this was a new finding or some unsubstantiated rumor. Have you read or heard anything about a compound in kale that creates problems in the body? I’ll keep looking for more details as well. Hugs, Celeste

    Reply
    1. Barbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

      Thanks for your comment Celeste! And great question on the kale…
      There was a recent article written, based on the research of one chemist that claims that kale and other cruciferous vegetables are high in thallium which if eaten in large quantities can cause toxicity. The article stresses that the effects were seen in people who ate a lot of these veggies every day, so for those having it less often and using other greens as well, it’s less of a concern, even if it is true. Again, there is more research that needs to be done before a final determination can be made. One chemists purported findings is not enough to make it true. That being said, rotate your greens so you are not relying solely on kale. Hope this helps! xox

      Reply
      1. Celeste

        Thanks so much! You’re always so knowledgable about nutrition, and with things to keep us all healthy! Xo. C.

        Reply
  2. tiffany albert

    what about the phosphorus that is abundant in these foods I eat?:
    scallops, pumpkin seed, cod, salmon, lentils, shrimp.

    Reply
    1. Barbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

      Phosphorous from any form can deminieralize bone. Keep in mind though, that it’s present in most foods to some degree. Foods high in phosphorous like the ones you mentioned, are ok once in a while, but if you eat them often, then reduce. I mention soda mostly because it is a big source of phosphorous and those that drink it tend to drink a lot of it.
      Hope this helps!

      Reply
  3. Joan

    Hi Barb:
    Thanks for this blog post. Craig’s 91 year old mother is suffering very badly with osteoporosis and she too has taken great care to eat properly her whole life. But, she has been relying on dairy for her bone density.
    Anyway, I have a quick question regarding the acidity. Aren’t the pickled foods considered acidic?
    Or does the fermentation change that.
    Best,
    Joan

    Reply
    1. Barbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

      Great question Joan! The lactic acid that’s created actually helps with the gut flora which is a very important aspect of proper digestion and assimilation of nutrients. So while lactic acid may marginally contribute to acidity, it’s pros outweigh the cons. Better to reduce acid from other foods like too much animal protein, dairy and grains.
      Hope you are well!

      Reply
  4. Jorge MENDEZ

    Great video. Lots of information in it. As you know for the last ten years I work out 3 or 4 times a week, and believe me, I do feel the difference. One thing I do not have, so far, is osteoporosis, but exercising is such a great way to have a sense of wellbeing that I recommended highly.
    This video, when you come to think of it, has enough information for three videos. Keep up the good work,
    Your proud father,
    Jorge

    Jorge

    Reply
  5. Elizabeth Camden

    Hi Barbara,
    I am 66 and I am a dancer, dance teacher, and a former exercise instructor (12 years – so I know the importance of keeping strong and active – I workout at least 5 days a week plus my dancing) I have primary hyperparathyroidism which can cause osteoporosis among other unpleasant symptoms, and I have had scans revealing porous bones. I refuse to take the toxic drugs and my acupuncturist recommended strontium. After less than a year, my scans improved greatly – showing scores that I had years ago. My endochrinologist insists that density gained from strontium isn’t an actual gain since the bones aren’t made strong. My personal research into reclast drugs indicated the same result – denser but fragile bones. If it’s true about strontium (and I’m not so sure I buy it), than it’s no different from the drugs and there are no side effects. What are your thoughts about strontium. Meanwhile, I exercise, eat as much whole food as I can afford, never drink soda, very little dairy, caffeine or meat and I would eat more fermented food which I love but it gives me gas. And I do take a quality probiotic every day and enzymes at each meal. Any suggestions for reducing gas from fermented food? Does organic apple cider vinegar help. I like to drink a tablespoonful in a glass of filtered water every day with no digestive problems.
    I love your Motivational Mondays and I want to thank you for sharing all your expertise so generously.
    Elizabeth

    Reply
    1. Barbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

      Thanks for your comment Elizabeth!
      I have seen great results with strontium. As for osteo meds, your research is correct. They has actually been shown to in some cases lead to breaks in bone. It seems to me you are on a plan that works for you and you feel comfortable with….
      As for the fermented foods and gas, the apple cider vinegar will help and is also a good alkalinizer for the body so it’s a win-win.
      Thanks again! And I really appreciate your feedback on the blog 🙂

      Reply
  6. Lisa Dawn

    hi there. so i just made my first batch of pickles! i love fermenting all by myself. i feel very advanced now. what other foods would you suggest? i saw you had something purple on the table – beets? the orange jar was carrots? what else? same method as the pickles? thanks!

    Reply
    1. Barbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

      Glad to hear you tried the pickles. Yes, you can make any vegetable that way. The beets and carrots on my video were made by Oliver Weston company, and I am unsure how Hannah makes them but they are delicious. Especially the carrots which has cloves of garlic included…yummy! There’s also a sugar fermentation process but I’m not familiar with how to do it….
      Thanks Lisa!

      Reply
      1. Lisa

        Hmm. I’m going to try carrots and beets using the bribe method and see what happens! Thx for the inspiration.

        Reply
  7. Kate

    Hi Barbara!! Love your stuff!! Ok I am 62…had my baseline bone density scan two years ago. It showed (to my surprise) I have osteopenia in my low back. My Dr. prescribed calcium sups/ with D. I exercise ….do yoga, swim laps…and hike, plus one or another fitness class each week for good measure:-). I eat plain unsweetened Greek yogurt, a couple times a week plus some non fat milk in my (one) daily espresso drink. I live on a small island in the Balearics…..feel a bit disadvantaged because things are limited here, and I don’t know what types of pesticides or toxins may be on the veggies and fruit…I really try to be healthy, and do the right things…but it gets a bit frustrating at times because just when I think I am doing it correctly….I hear or read something different. Aaahhhh! I love your blog….thank you Barbara

    Reply
    1. Barbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

      Hi Kate~ Sounds like you are doing great work taking care of yourself! And your plan sounds like a solid one. I would suggest you focus on alkalinity as another aspect of your routine. Start your day with the juice of 1/2 lemon in warm water before you eat or drink anything else. Have a great big salad every day with lots of leafy greens and veggies, reduce caffeine intake if possible and drink plenty of water. Make sure your vitamin D levels are solid and consider fermented foods…. I think all of that would be very helpful in addition to what you are doing.
      Thank you for your comment and I am so pleased to know you love the blog! Makes me happy to hear 🙂
      How nice to live on a small island… must be peaceful…

      Reply
      1. Kate

        Hi Barbara…thanks so much for your encouragement! Menorca is a beautiful island…and I love to swim in the Med. Sea!, Also as an FYI…my husband and I walked the Camino de Santiago three years ago this month. We started in France crossed the Pyrenees Mt…across to Santiago. Life altering….on the edge of the comfort zone is really something! Glad to hear you plan walking Pilgrimage Route!!

        Reply
        1. Barbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

          How great! I as just in the Spanish Pyrenees this in early July and loved it!! Want to live there one day… and the Camino is on the list…along with the Dolomites, Macchu Pichu, Everest Base Camp…. I could go on… this world is grand, isn’t it?
          Thanks again Kate! Let me know how you go along with the changes 🙂

          Reply
  8. Nads

    About tea: only black tea is demineralizing and acid-forming. Green tea is not, it is reputed as remineralizing and alkaline.

    Reply

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