Let me see whats underneath those guns ladies (and gents). I hope you are packing a whole new kind of heat. It is not all about the muscle, but also about the bones. When we think of physical health, we tend to think of our figure, our muscle tone, and our weight. Not that those things aren't important, but we can't forget about our bones. They protect our vital organs, give our body shape, and allow us to move and groove.
What is scary, is that, approximately 25 million people in the US are affected by osteoporosis. Women are much more susceptible than men to developing a osteoporosis-related fracture over the age of 50. You may be at a higher-risk of developing osteoporosis if you are post-menopause, have taken steroids for a long period of time, have a below-normal BMI, have a family history of osteoporosis, are a smoker, have rheumatoid arthritis, or have more than three alcoholic drink per day. 1
There is the old adage that we must drink milk to have strong bones. To some extent, yes, but too much of a good thing, and not enough of another, is not always good. Our bones are 65% calcium phosphate salts for hardness and 35% collagen for flexibility. With no calcium and all collagen, the bones would be very flexible. With all calcium and no collagen, the bones would have a high risk of shattering when subjected to stress. Our bodies require much more than just calcium for good bone health: magnesium, phosphorus, copper, manganese, zinc, Vitamins C, D, K, B6, folic acid, protein, and healthy fats. 2 The good new is that all of these things are easily attainable through the food we eat.
Just because you are at-risk for developing osteoporosis doesn’t mean that is your destiny. We can combat osteoporosis through exercise (at least 30 minutes a day), exposing ourselves to 15-30 minutes of sunlight everyday, and proper nutrition:
- Eat 5-7 servings of vegetables a day, including leafy greens
- Add sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds to diet for minerals and natural fats
- Choose whole grains vs. refined
- Consume beans and naturally raised animal foods for protein
- Opt for EVOO, flaxseed oil, and unrefined sesame oil for essential fatty acids
- Cut out refined sugars from diet
If you are sensitive to dairy, no problem. There are many other ways to get your calcium:
If you think you may be at-risk for osteoporosis, I encourage you to talk to your M.D. about ordering you a bone density test. This is a non-invasive, accurate way to determine if your bones are healthy. Most insurance companies will cover the cost of a bone density test if you meet certain requirements, post-menopausal being one of them. If you have any questions about bone density, please email me; I do bone density testing at work, and would be happy to answer any questions.
1 Reviewed by Ratini D.O., M.S., Melinda. "Osteoporosis: Are you at risk?” WebMD. 2013, 7 January 2014.
2 "Bone Health" Institute for Integrated Nutrition. 2013, 7 January 2014. (Online Training Application)