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