There are things you can do to ensure that your bones stay strong and healthy as you get older. Calcium is the first thing that comes to mind to most people when we think about our bones, but as with everything else (like qi), there is a balance that needs to be maintained for the human body to function optimally.
There is certainly a formula, but there is no magic involved. In order for calcium to be absorbed properly, it needs both magnesium and vitamin D (plus a few others, but these are the main ones). These nutrients plus exercise are what your bones need to go the distance.
The trick with calcium is that it doesn’t always end up in your bones. It could accumulate in arteries and joints, which can potentially do a lot of harm (especially in the long run). This is the result of not having the requisite of amounts of magnesium or vitamin D. Vitamin D is required to absorb calcium and magnesium helps it do that (a sort of catalyst, if you will). It also helps get calcium to the bones.
Our bodies produce enough vitamin D as long as we get enough sun. Unfortunately, most people are vitamin D deficient and rely on supplements. If you get about 30 minutes of sun with 20% of your skin exposed (daily), you should be in good shape. Try to avoid the sun when it’s strongest though. Sunburns are not pleasant.
A healthy balanced diet (avoiding processed foods) should give us the nutrients we need in the proper balance, and we can supplement with vitamins when our diet comes up short. Just remember that the body needs the vitamin D and magnesium to go with that calcium supplement. So, what should you eat? Here are some recommendations:
- Chlorophyll-rich foods can counteract Vitamin D deficiency because chlorophyll acts like Vitamin D in the body. In other words, eat green foods (especially leafy greens and seaweeds).
- There are a variety of food groups rich in magnesium, including chlorophyll-rich foods. While the amount of magnesium varies, these whole foods are good sources:
- Dried seaweeds
- Beans (including soybeans)
- Whole grains (emphasis on Whole)
- Leafy greens
- Seaweeds (not just dried)
Calcium: (These foods are in no particular order and are not the only foods rich in calcium)
- Sea vegetables: Hijiki, Wakame
- Seaweeds: Kelp, Kombu
- Cottage Cheese
- Sunflower Seeds
- Turnip Greens
- Collard Greens
We Like to Move It, Move It…
Never underestimate the value of exercise. Regular physical activity does so much to improve our quality of life, both in terms of our physical body and our mental fitness. With regard to our bones, regular and moderate physical activity will help keep you from losing bone mass as you age. Weight bearing movements (including walking…body weight counts) are a necessary component of a bone-healthy workout regimen.