Osteoporosis and Calcium - Discussion, Causes, Tips
What is the link between osteoporosis and calcium?
Osteoporosis is a result of a loss of bone density. Your bones become fragile and can break and fracture more easily than they would have earlier in your life.
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A note about Osteoporosis and Calcium - Discussion, Causes, Tips
In natural health and healing, we believe in holistic health and healing, as we realize that different parts of the human body are highly interlinked, often beyond Man's understanding. We also believe that the body has the ability to heal itself of any disease, even supposedly incurable diseases.
In order to do so, the body needs the support of some basic dietary and lifestyle good health habits, such as a full body detox and a proper understanding and application of nutrition. No matter how remote or unrelated a health condition may seem, these fundamental health steps will greatly magnify the effects and benefits of any of our health-promoting efforts, including the use of specific natural health remedies.
A lack of calcium is attributed to the development of osteoporosis. This is why it is so important to prevent or address calcium deficiencies throughout all stages of your life.
When youre working to prevent osteoporosis by ensuring you get plenty of calcium, its important that you know what food sources contain the best type of calcium to meet your needs.
Role of Calcium
Firstly, let us discuss a little about the role of calcium. The importance of this mineral actually goes beyond a link between bone loss, osteoporosis and calcium.
Some studies show that this mineral helps you to maintain a healthy body weight, protects your heart and can decrease the severity of pre menstrual syndrome (PMS). It also helps prevent colon cancer and keeps your teeth healthy.
Now, when you consume foods which contain calcium, your body digests them and the calcium goes into your blood. Excess calcium which your body does not need in the meantime is deposited into your bones. Thus, your bones and entire skeletal structure not only hold your body together, they in fact also serve as a "storage tank", so to speak, of calcium in your body. When calcium is later needed by the body, it is taken from this "depository".
However, because the body uses this nutrient all the time, it is easy to develop a calcium deficiency if it is not properly replenished in your diet.
Conventional Wisdom on Dairy Products
When discussing the osteoporosis and calcium connection, it is inevitable that we talk about dairy products. This topic is somewhat controversial.
Conventional wisdom tells us that dairy products are an important source of calcium. It tells us that dairy products are absolutely crucial for the growth and development of babies and children, in particular that of their teeth and bones.
And women who are nearing middle age and menopause are told to drink more milk, as their bodies need the additional calcium to fight off bone loss and osteoporosis.
Are these osteoporosis and calcium suggestions sound?
The Problems with Milk and Dairy Products
Let us dig deeper into the suitability of dairy products in fixing the osteoporosis and calcium connection.
In truth, there are several problems with milk. Almost all conventionally produced milk today is loaded with chemical growth hormones, which had been fed or injected into the cows. And some studies have found that even organic milk contains naturally occurring growth hormones.
These growth hormones can trigger a growth spurt in teens. Sometimes, this growth spurt can cause a teen to grow too tall, which later in life could cause cancer.
Additionally, since most cows milk available on the shelves is pasteurized, it is heated to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Another theory is that this process destroys the acidity in milk and without that, calcium cannot be digested. When calcium cannot be broken down, it can accumulate in the reproductive organs or the bile duct, which can have negative effects on health.
Dairy products also enhance mucous production in the body, and not to mention it comes with the little issue of lactose intolerance, which plagues many people.
Milk's High Protein Content Causes Bone Loss
There is one more big issue to talk about in this osteoporosis and calcium discussion, and that is the high protein content of milk.
As mentioned earlier, excess calcium in the blood which is not used by the body is stored in your bones and skeletal structure. The problem with taking in too much protein in your diet is that your body uses the calcium in your blood to metabolize it; you then excrete this calcium in your urine, and it does not get stored or deposited in your bones.
Meat and dairy products, of course, are very high in protein. So, while you are trying to take in more calcium through dairy products such as milk, you are also increasing your protein intake, and indirectly raising your bone loss. Like many other aspects of health, this osteoporosis and calcium situation provides such a big irony!
Foods High in Calcium
So, how does a person overcome a calcium deficiency and stave off bone loss? According to the National Institutes of Health, the best way to get the daily recommended amount of calcium is to eat it. This means that you should rely on food sources that are full of bone-strengthening calcium to overcome your deficiency and prevent osteoporosis, as supposed to supplements, which may not be as easily assimilated by your body.
So, what foods can be used to address the osteoporosis and calcium gap?
In general, green leafy vegetables are excellent sources of calcium which is easily assimilated by the human body. Collard greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach and turnip greens are great sources of calcium, as are broccoli, kelp and seaweed.
Sesame seeds, white beans, carrot juice and orange juice are high in calcium, too.
Importance of Vitamin D and Exercise
Vitamin D plays a crucial role in your body's ability to absorb dietary calcium. By far the best way to get your fix of this vitamin is to expose your bare skin to sunlight, allowing your body to produce its own vitamin D. As sunburn is harmful to health, be sure to carry this out sensibly.
Exercise, especially weight bearing exercise, is also crucial for strong bones. Indeed, these two factors cannot be ignored in addressing the osteoporosis and calcium link.
Osteoporosis and Calcium - Conclusion
This osteoporosis and calcium discussion has touched on two very opposing viewpoints, primarily on whether or not milk is a good source of this very important mineral. Who is right?
Take a look at the world today, and it seems like the nations which drink the most milk are also those with the highest incidences of bone loss and osteoporosis. If milk is such a worthy source of calcium, would that trend make sense?
The plant kingdom is full of potent sources of easily assimilated calcium, and we would do well to rely mainly on them.
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