How to build a good skeleton – and keep it that way!

Tips for healthy bones

Them dancing bones

Our bones are dynamic structures. This means that they undergo constant break-down and build-up in response to our ever-changing environment. Our bones can get smaller or bigger depending on what physical demands are being placed on our body. They can reinforce themselves where needed, and they can repair themselves when broken. Bones aren’t static structures – otherwise how would we grow up all big and strong!  And conversely, how would some people become frail as they age…

We can just feel it in our bones

In this country we’re all very concerned about our bone health. This is probably because we’re encouraged to consume calcium (in the form of dairy) from a young age. We do this to grow strong teeth, avoid fractures, and to prevent bone deterioration in our later years. However, the average dietary calcium intake remains well below the recommended daily intake (RDI).  If we want to stay strong & healthy, we can’t just leave our body to its own devices. We can make the job easier on our body by what we choose to ingest, and by ensuring we maintain a good level of general health.

Boning-up on good skeletal health

Build a nutrient store in our body

When it comes to our bones, our job is to provide our body with a constant supply of all the nutrients necessary to make a healthy skeleton. Our bones need minerals (calcium, magnesium, and boron), vitamins (K and D) and also protein. We can meet these requirements by eating a diet that contains the following:

  • SEAFOOD Bony fish (sardines and salmon), shell-fish, and seaweed (Kelp and Dulse)
  • DARK GREEN LEAFY VEGGIES (Slightly steamed) Kale, collard leaves, turnip greens, parsley, dandelion greens, watercress, and broccoli.
  • NUTS + SEEDS Almonds + brazils (the nuts with the highest quantity of calcium) Sunflower + sesame seeds (including tahini)
  • DRIED FRUIT Apricots, dates, figs, prunes, and raisins
  • EGGS Egg yolk and ground egg shells
  • SOY PRODUCTS Tofu, miso, cooked soybeans, and soybean sprouts
  • MISCELLANEOUS Bone broth, buckwheat (raw), carob, molasses, and brewers’ yeast

It’s not always possible to get these foods, or enough of these foods, in our daily diet. For some people, it is essential that to supplement our diets with a good quality calcium supplement (with all the necessary supportive co-factors). This is particularly true if we are a teenager, pregnant or lactating, if you have a high need for support for blood pressure, suffer from nervous system conditions or are at risk of bone deterioration.

Don’t deplete our nutrient store

Our bodies use the nutrients from our bones (and muscle tissue) to buffer our blood from acid build-up. We should therefore aim to minimise how often our ‘nutrient store’ is called upon. By preventing this ‘ransacking’ we will help to avoid the destruction of our bones and the wasting of our muscle tissue. (It will also help to avoid chronic oxidative stress, impaired immunity, and support our blood sugar balance and joint health. Therefore we need to be mindful of how often we are consuming items that may:

  • Affect our mineral absorption (Too many raw green smoothies + Fizzy drinks)
  • Affect our mineral excretion (Caffeine + alcohol)

Address predisposing risk factors and other seemingly non-related factors

We need to address any predisposing risk factors that we may have, such as hormonal imbalances (or changes), or dietary habits that may affect our bone health.

We also need to take into consideration other factors that can cause our body to ‘ransack' our nutrient store (in order to buffer the blood from acid-load).
Improper digestion, stress & worry and overworking our muscles can contribute to our acid-load. Poor lung function or poor kidney function (which cause poor elimination) can also contribute to acid-load, as does the consumption of highly processed junk foods.

Joint ventures with bones

But what about our joints – those delicate structures that support our bones, and enable us to move about? Joints give life to our bones, and without them we would be nothing more than a pile of ‘pick-up-sticks’. Our joints need just as much attention as our bones.

We have a number of different types of joints throughout our body and there are also a number of different ways we can hurt them:

  • We can injure them (strains + sprains, cartilage damage, and dislocations)
  • They can become inflamed
  • They can degenerate
  • They can be irritated (by toxins)
  • They can be attacked by our immune system, and
  • They can be aggravated by imbalanced metabolic processes.

Thankfully though, we are fortunate enough to have a number of natural substances that we can add to our diet by way of supplements that can help to repair and regenerate our joints, such as Glucosamine, MSM, collagen, Turmeric, and Boswellia. The results from studies on these products show positive results for supporting symptomatic relief of stiffness, and joint health.

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