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Want to reduce your risk of osteoporosis? Eat your fruits and veggies

Posted by | Posted in Nutrition | Posted on 30-04-2009

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I recently read a shocking statistic in The London Free Press that said North American women suffer hip fractures six times more often than women living in some Asian countries.  What’s even more shocking is that North American women consume an average of 1,000 mg of calcium per day, as compared to less than 500 mg per day consumed by women in these Asian countries.

Osteoporosis plays a big role in these fractures because those who suffer from osteoporosis are plagued by fragile bones that are at an increased risk for fractures, especially in the hips, vertebrae, and hips.  The London Free Press also reported an estimated 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men older than 55 will be affected by this disease.

The problem is as you can see above, getting a lot of calcium isn’t always a sufficient way for preventing osteoporosis.  Why is that?  Other than maintaining the structure of our body, our bones are also crucial in maintaining the correct pH level of our blood.  The pH level is what determines if our blood is acidic or basic.  A pH level of 7 is considered neutral, and our blood is a little on the basic side with a pH of 7.4.  (Less than 7 is more on the acidic side.)

How does all this relate to osteoporosis?

For a person that eats a lot of red meat, the amino acids that make up the protein in the meat cause our blood to become more acidic.  Acidic blood leads to all kinds of problems, and to neutralize this problem as quick as possible, our bones release some of their calcium to reduce the acidity of the blood and bring it back to a pH of 7.4.  As with North American women who get 500 mg of calcium per day more than women in some Asian countries, getting more calcium in your diet doesn’t always mean you’re doing enough to prevent osteoporosis.  If you’re blood is acidic, that calcium can still be used for neutralizing your blood as opposed to strengthening your bones.

Other than reducing your red meat intake, another step you can take to reduce your risk of osteoporosis is to eat your fruits and vegetables.  Fruits and vegetables have the opposite effect on blood as compared to red meat.  They actually help keep the blood at its slightly basic pH level.  This means they help reduce the excretion of calcium out of the bones because they step in and use themselves to neutralize acidic blood instead.  Another benefit of vegetables is that dark green, leafy choices are a good source of Vitamin K (promotes bone formation and integrity).  And while we’re on this strong bones kick, regularly getting out in the sun for a little bit is a good thing because sunlight helps the body produce vitamin D.  Vitamin D helps maintain bone integrity by taking calcium out of the food we eat and absorbing it into the blood.

Hmm … “Eat your fruits and vegetables.”  It looks like mom was right after all … .

Comments (6)

It is absolutely true that intake of an excessive amount of red meat is not good for health in general. And also having fruits and vegetables in generous amounts in your diet helps you keep fit and healthy. This is a news that it also helps in fighting osteoporosis.

Oh dear, I do love my red meat and don’t like vegetables!!! HEEEEELP

Indeed people everywhere are now avoiding too much of red meat. It is great to hear that having fruits and vegetables in generous amounts help in keeping osteoporosis at bay.

I have noticed a change in my health over the last year due to increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables I eat. My current consumption of fruits and vegetables is 4-10 servings daily.

Thanks for the update.There is a need of the right balance of foods.There should be meats and also fruits and vegetables all in proper portions.

I very much understand this situation. Osteoporosis is one of the most common affliction by women, and I have women in my life too. Anyway, I believe more people should know that thinning of the bones can be avoided by doing the following:
- Drink less alcohol since it has a bad effect on calcium which is essential to our bones.
- Include more calcium and vitamin D rich food in your diet.
- Exercise your way to healthier bones! Physical activity goes a long way.
- If you are smoking, QUIT IT.
- Make sure you get enough sleep.
- Drink essential multivitamins and those which are especially targeted for the bones (again like calcium).

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