How to Keep Your Bones Strong -- 7 Tips
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December 29, 2014
By Patrick Wells, Contributing Columnist

You're only as strong as your bones. No matter how strong your
muscles are, the strength of your bones sets an upper limit to how
much you can lift. Weight-lifting aside, having strong bones is
important to your general health. Bones which are strong hep you to
maintain an upright, youthful posture.  Strong bones of course reduce
your risk for osteoporosis and bone fractures as you age.

Most of us already know that weight-training helps to increase bone
mineral density. But which foods and drinks help to strengthen your
bones?  Which vitamins should you emphasize in your diet to build
brawny bones?  

Increase Your Calcium Intake

It is widely known that calcium is needed to maintain healthy bones. A
2003 study conducted by Albert Flynn and published in the Proceedings
of the Nutrition Society journal described just how important calcium
intake is for healthy bones, specifically in older men and post-
menopausal women. The study also stipulated that lack of sufficient
dietary calcium during these later years could lead to accelerated bone
loss and eventually osteoporosis.

The World Health Organization suggests that diets for adults should
include anywhere from 400 to 500 milligrams of calcium per day.
Although milk is one of the most well known sources of calcium,
“greens and beans” may actually be better for you over all as they have
less fat and cholesterol. Furthermore, studies conducted by RP Heaney
(1990) and CM Weaver (1994) have illustrated that the difference in
calcium absorption between milk (32%) and leafy greens such as
broccoli, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens, turnip greens, and kale (40
– 64%) is considerable as well.

Load up on Vitamin D

Vitamin D is also essential for bone health due to its partnership with
calcium. Calcium by itself is significantly harder for the body to absorb
and use. However Vitamin D, and Vitamin K which will be discussed
later in this article, act to help the body absorb calcium. A 2005 study
conducted by Dr. J. Iwamoto, a member of the Department of Sports
Medicine at the Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo, Japan,
discovered that an increased vitamin D intake positively affected calcium
absorption through the intestines.

Foods that are rich in Vitamin D include egg yolks, organ meats, bone
meal, shrimp and fortified foods like cereal, orange juice, sardines and

However, that being said, one of the easiest ways to sustain healthy
Vitamin D levels is by going outside as sunlight causes the body to
naturally produce vitamin D. Doses of sun for 10 to 15 minutes, 3 or 4
times a week will significantly help in replenishing vitamin D levels,
especially for the elderly.

The Secret K

The “Secret K” may not be so secret anymore as researchers have
begun to examine the additional effects that Vitamin K could have
outside of its primary use as a treatment for blood clots. In terms of
bone health, the previously mentioned Dr. Iwamoto study also found
that Vitamin K, like vitamin D, was helpful in assisting the body with
calcium absorption through the intestinal tract.

Vitamin K also boasted the additional ability to help the body retain
calcium by limiting the amount that is secreted in urine. In lieu of these
findings, scientists at the Keio University School of Medicine suggested
that increases in vitamin K intakes can help manage dietary calcium
deficiencies and prevent hypocalcemia.

Foods that hold the “secret” of K include Japanese "natto", gouda
cheese, kale, broccoli, Swiss chard, spinach, liver,  tomatoes and

Neutralize Bone Loss with Potassium

Potassium as a wide range of health benefits which include reducing
the probability of strokes, lowering blood pressure, increasing muscle
strength, regulating metabolism efficiency, and maintaining a healthy
nervous system. You wouldn't expect anything less from the third most
prevalent mineral in the human body.

Now, potassium can add bone health to its list of health benefits as
well. Susan A. New from the Center for Nutrition and Food Safety at the
University of Surrey in the UK, published a study in 1998 that
illuminated the bone health benefits of potassium.

The study suggested higher intakes of potassium through fruits and
vegetables correlated to higher measurements of bone mass in
subjects. What they found is that potassium accounts for an 18%
increase in total forearm bone mass of women, ages 44 to 55.

Which foods are rich in potassium. Potatoes especially with the skin,
bananas, and beans high in potassium.

Don't Be Afraid to Have a Drink

Evidence has begun to amass that suggests that drinking alcohol in
moderation may also help maintain a healthy skeleton.

A 2008 study conducted by KM Berg of the Department of Medicine at
the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center in
Bronx, NY, found that people who drank between a half and one drink
a day had a
lower risk of hip fractures than teetotallers who abstained
from alcohol all together.

However, that's not to say that heavy drinking is good for your bones.
In fact, the study also illustrated how exceeding two drinks a day can
ultimately be detrimental to maintaining healthy bones as those
subjects who did so had a significantly higher risk of hip fractures than
the other two groups.

Sulfur and Bone Health

Garlic, onions, eggs and other sources of dietary protein, are all healthy
examples of foods that contain significant concentrations of sulfur.

The sulfur-containing amino acids that are found in these foods have
long been believed to be detrimental to overall bone health however
recent scientific studies have begun to refute this claim.

Rene Rizzoli and Jean-Philippe Bonjour published an article in the
Journal of Bone and Mineral Research in 2004 that examined the effect
that dietary protein, and sulfur-containing amino acids, had on the
management of osteoporosis in the elderly. The article suggested that
higher concentrations of sulfur actually helped to minimize bone loss
and ultimately was exceedingly helpful in increasing the overall bone
mass density of 82 elderly patients over a period of 6 months after they
had suffered a hip fracture.

Bone Broth for Healthy Bones

Bone broth boasts a plethora of vitamins and minerals including the
aforementioned calcium, sulfur, and potassium. However in addition to
these, bone broth is also a healthy source of phosphorus, magnesium,
fluoride and sodium, which have all been proven to be necessary in
maintaining sufficient bone health.

A 2010 study conducted by Mahmood A. Aljumaily at the University of
Mosul in Iraq found that daily doses of bone broth helped increase the
rapidity with which bones were able to heal themselves. A
computerized tomography (CT) scan revealed a dramatic n increase in
the bone healing process after a period of 5 weeks..

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Liver helps to build bone