Many bone health articles promote the most obvious factors to increasing bone mineral density such as getting enough calcium and vitamin D. Here are five tips that you may not have heard before:
 
1. Drink Less Soda Pop. Although studies have not conclusively found that the carbonation in beverages “leaches calcium from bones,” as some nutritionists claim, research has determined that drinking soda may result in lower bone mineral density. The researchers aren’t sure whether it is because the people who drink pop tend to drink it instead of a healthier (calcium fortified) beverage or whether there is something in the soda (like caffeine) that depletes bones. (http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/does-carbonated-water-harm-bones)
 
2. Avoid Distraction. Surveys find that the following are just as important as nutrition and medical testing to prevent or reduce the number of bone breaks that occur: A) being very conscious of your movements when picking up large or heavy objects B) slowly getting out of the car C) mindfully climbing stairs, and D) being careful around slippery surfaces in the bathroom (where most accidents happen).
 
3. Don’t Rely on a BMD Scan. DEXA, dual‐energy x ray absorptiometry, scans measure the bone mineral density of the hip and spine to determine fracture risks. However, results are not always accurate. Also, some doctors overuse scans (which expose you to radiation), recommending them every 1-3 years although differences in results for most people are negligible in that timeframe. Research shows osteoporosis develops in less than10% of mild osteopenia cases after 15 year screening intervals and after 5 years for moderate osteopenia.  (Study of Osteoporotic Fractures Research Group, N Engl J Med. 2012 Jan 19; 366(3): 225–233)
 
4. Eat More Protein. It’s common for athletes to bulk up with extra protein. But the message the rest of us often get is that we’re eating too much, especially meat. But this might not be true. The RDA for protein (0.8 grams protein/kg body weight) would only give 10% of your total daily calories. In comparison, the average North American eats 16% of their daily calories in protein, originally thought to be high. Yet the Protein Summit, reported in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that 16% is still too little protein, not too much. The researchers argue that at least this much (from animal and plant sources) is shown in research to be vital for bone and muscle strength, especially as you age. (Harvard Men's Health Watch)
 
5. Take a Tip From the Chinese. There may be a reason why Asians are known to have youthful skin, lustrous hair and less bone breakage during aging. They include bamboo shoots in their diet. Bamboo is the richest source of silicon (containing 70% organic silica). Silicon improves hair, skin, ligaments and bones, and helps to age-proof our body by restoring the building blocks that create it. Silicon is only found in tiny amounts in water, beer and grains in Western diets, and it is difficult to absorb so many of us are deficient in it. Silicon declines with age because less is metabolized. It is also eliminated through urine, hair loss and nail trimming (reduction of 10-40 mg daily) so it must be replaced. Bamboo shoots are available canned or fresh at Asian/specialty grocers.
 
 
RECIPE: STIRFRY TO SAVE MOM’S BONES
 
Did you know that up the three-quarters of us might be deficient in calcium? This isn’t just caused from eating too little in food, but from malabsorption, results of surgery, prescription drugs, hypoparathyroidism, and post-cancer effects. Having too little calcium doesn’t just increase bone breaks, it can cause inefficient hormone function, internal bleeding, drooping posture, neck pain, muscle cramps, heart arrhythmias, hypertension and osteopenia. Help Mom to get enough calcium on Mother’s Day by making her an especially calcium-rich dinner.
 
Bone-Building Asian Stirfry
 
1 cup             Tofu                                (300 mg calcium)
1/2 cup           Almonds                         (132 mg calcium)
2 cups            Broccoli                          (124 mgs calcium, cooked)
1/2                 Red Onion                       (23 mgs calcium, cooked)
2 cups            Kale                               (358 mgs calcium, cooked)                       
1 cup              Collard Greens                  (179 mgs calcium, cooked)
1 cup              Chinese Cabbage              (105 mg calcium, cooked)
1 cup              Bock Choy                        (158 mgs calcium, cooked)
1/2 can           Bamboo Shoots (optional)  (75% silica, 14 mgs calcium)
2 cups            Cooked Organic Chicken    (42 mgs calcium)
 
 
SAUCE
2 tablespoons Sesame Tahini       (17 mgs calcium)
2 tablespoons Tamari or Soy Sauce
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Minced Garlic           (20 mgs calcium)
1 1/2 teaspoons Grated Fresh Ginger
1/2 teaspoon crushed Red/Hot Pepper flakes or pinch of Cayenne
 
Directions: In a bowl, combine all sauce ingredients and blend well. Chop tofu and vegetables into bite-sized pieces. In a wok or deep fry pan, add 1/2 tablespoon oil to pan on medium heat. Add tofu and turn to make both sides lightly brown. Add 1 tablespoon oil and add first broccoli, and 2 minutes later, add all other ingredients except bamboo shoots and almonds. Toss all continually until cooked but still crunchy firm. Drain if excess liquid. Add in almonds, sauce, cooked chicken and bamboo shoots (if using) and toss on low heat for 2 minutes. Serves two.

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