Sunday, June 1, 2008

Do cows need milk for healthy bones?

I didn’t make it to the market this weekend. Instead, I sat in class and listened to Annemarie Colbin - the founder of the Natural Gourmet Institute and the author of numerous health-related books - lecture on bone health, women’s reproductive issues and osteoarthritis. Okay, so maybe it doesn’t sound like the most exciting way to spend a sunny weekend, but I was riveted. Dr. Colbin really understands the role whole foods play in our health.

We all want strong bones, but the fact is that the rate of osteoporosis is rising, right along with diabetes and heart disease. The future looks uncertain.

So what makes bones strong? Calcium, right? Well, not so fast. Healthy bones have equal amounts of calcium and collagen matrix. Ever heard of collagen matrix? It’s what makes your bones flexible. Fragility fractures do not occur if your bones are flexible, even if they are porous.

I want strong bones, so the first thing I should think of is milk - or is it? The Nurses Health Study at Harvard showed that women who drank more than two glasses of milk per day had double the incidence of bone fractures than women who drank less than one glass a week. Hmmm.

So how do you make your bones strong and flexible? You’ve come to the right place! This is what I do for a living – help my clients dig through all this stuff and find the real answers. No, I’m not going to give you health advice and yes, you always need to talk to your doctor, but here are a few ideas.

- eat more vegetables
- eat even more vegetables
- eat tons of dark, leafy greens, lightly cooked
- eat beans
- eat whole grains – not whole grain bread, but the actual grains. You know, quinoa, brown rice, millet, buckwheat.
- eat lots of nuts and seeds
- eat quality fats
- cook with bone broths
- eat edible bones – sardines, canned salmon (and its bone), etc.

Notice how the dairy products are missing?

There’s much more, like exercise and other stuff you may want to do, but you would have to hire me to really get into this. Meanwhile, learn more about whole foods and how they can help preserve your health.

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