WAC Magazine

May 2013

Issue link: http://www.wacmagazine.com/i/124277

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Page 24 of 63

along with your medical history can help determine if you require treatment or not. Anyone receiving bone density testing should monitor the changes between screenings. Lifestyle changes and new therapies can help prevent bone loss and, in some cases, even increase bone density. This may include making changes to your diet and adding exercise to your life—or modifying your current exercise routine. You also might consider paying attention to the alkalizing and acidifying nature of your diet. (For more on the benefits of an alkalizing diet, see the October 2012 issue of WAC Magazine, or view wacmagazine.com/i/84869/22). There is no one-size-fits-all answer to better bone health. While one person might have a low vitamin D level, another might need more exercise. Most bone loss, however, is lifestyle-related and can begin early in life. Items such as coffee, carbonated beverages, fast food, and processed meals can harm your bone health. Other causes include prescription medications, inactivity, stress, and cigarette smoking. These factors can affect your blood pH level by causing the body to draw calcium from bones to buffer excess acidity. Through time, this could significantly increase the risk of bone loss. The restoration of a healthy alkaline state is essential to the regeneration of bone. Strength in chAnge Although the causes of bone loss and osteoporosis differ, everyone can take steps to improve their skeletal health. Here are a few tips: • Eat foods that resemble the colors of the rainbow. It's recommended to eat about five servings of fruits and veggies a day. Think green leafy vegetables, such as kale, arugula, broccoli, spinach and chard. In the fruit category think strawberries, blueberries and citrus fruits. • Squeeze a fresh lime or lemon into your water. • Reduce your consumption of processed sugars. Grab an apple or an orange for a snack instead of a candy bar. • Take it easy on excessive protein and processed food, they may make the blood overly acidic, which in turn requires more mineral reserves to be pulled from the bones to restore balance. • Print out an acid-alkaline diet chart and post it on your refrigerator. You can find many options online. • Add "live" drinks—such as smoothies containing veggies and fruits—to your diet. Consume less coffee and alcohol, and reduce or eliminate soda from your diet. • Consider adding fermented soy foods to your menu. • Drink lots of water every day. • Talk to your health care provider about having your vitamin D, thyroid, and hormone levels checked. These are all very important to bone health. • Lower your stress level. Get a massage, take a yoga class, or meditate. Stress can release cortisol, which is acidic and can affect your pH level. • Exercise by choosing an activity you enjoy. Walking is good, but strength training or weight-bearing exercise is even better. • Get enough sleep. A lack of rest stresses the body. Acupuncture has been shown to improve sleep and reduce stress. • Take multivitamins. • Stop smoking. • Get your bone density tested and monitor changes through time. The WAC Wellness Center can help you and offers many treatments and programs that can improve bone health. The human body is always trying to maintain a balance. Your bones are living tissues and need to be fed just like other parts of your anatomy. Educate yourself and be proactive with your health care. Having healthy bones is about making positive choices. Remember, always talk with your health care provider when considering making changes to your body and lifestyle. Taking care of your bones now can increase your chances of having a long and healthy life free of osteoporosis. Be good to your bones, and they'll be good to you. " Lifestyle changes and new therapies can help prevent bone loss and, in some cases, even increase bone density." Elizabeth Smith owns Medical Integration Services, providing bone density screening and education in the greater Seattle area. She can be reached at healthtoyou@ comcast.net. MAY 2013 | Washington Athletic Club Magazine | 25

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