Nutrition matters to your bone health.
Exercise is not the only thing that is important for bone health. Our bodies are equipped with amazing systems that are designed to maintain homiostatius in the body.
For example, when calcium levels in the blood get low it sets off reactions elsewhere in the body. If your calcium blood levels get low, the parathyroid signals the osteoclasts to release calcium from the bones and the kidney is signaled to reclaim more calcium before it is excreted out of the body.
But calcium is not the whole picture to bone health.
Our bodies gather the nutrients it needs when making new bone. 18 essential elements are responsible for bone health. They include the minerals; Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Zinc, Manganese, Copper, Boron, Silica and Flouride. In addition are the vitamins; D, C, A, B6, B12, K as well as Folic acid, essential fatty acids and protein.
All of these play a part in the health of your bone. Just as the levels of your calcium are important so are these other elements, for instance without Vit. D your body can not absorb Calcium. Vitamin K is important in bone formation and also has a roll in fracture healing. MK4 and MK7 are 2 forms of K. Both help to clear calcium from arteries and joints and deposit calcium in bone matrix. If you have been on a long time use of antibiotics for gut health reasons this can sometimes result in a Vit. K deficiency. Good sources of K can been found in dark green leafy vegetables. If you are on a blood thinner speak to your doctor first.
I bet your next question is…
Well how much should I have of each of the essential elements?
I am not a nutritionist nor your doctor so it would NOT be prudent of me to try and give you an amount. All of our bodies and diets are different. Awareness needs to begin somewhere and my intention is to help you start a conversation with your practitioner regarding these important elements that support your bones. We can do Warrior 1 all day long but if we are deficient in the minerals or vitamins we need we may not see our density change and it could get worse.
Once you have determined with your doctor what amounts of each are beneficial for your situation, I encourage you to look for those in your food sources. With just a bit of awareness we can at least meet our bodies half way and ingest foods that will be sustaining and nourishing as we try to get the maximum from food. Did you know Mung beans are high in Vitamin K, C, B, phosphorous, and iron? They are also are beneficial for gut bacteria. Mung beans have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and they are a staple in the Indian diet. I include them in my diet as well.
This brings us to my last point today which is gut health. You could have eaten or taken supplements for your bones but if your gut health is not supporting your body you may not be absorbing adequate amounts of what you are ingesting. If you have bloating, gas or a change in your stools bring this up with your healthcare practitioner.
This may seem overwhelming and I agree it can be in the beginning. You may just want to go back to your “easy” but if you are trying to improve the quality of your health and well being, nutrition is an important factor in your vitality and longevity. Support your body off the yoga mat with a diet geared toward your bone health and you will be more successful in reaching change in the density of your bones.
Hope to see you on your mat.