It’s just not fair. All that cheese you eat and milk you drink to keep your bones hard and strong may be having the opposite effect. According to a growing number of health care practitioners and researchers, their disturbing theory, the thinning of bone and muscle that comes with age is actually a modern phenomenon triggered by modern diets—diets that appear healthy but in reality are setting the stage for bone disease.
And it’s not a lack of calcium that has got these researchers worried. Instead, they say, the problem is diets that are high in the supposedly health-promoting cereals and breads, including calcium-packed cheese and milk and low in fruits and vegetables. They claim that such a diet produces so much acid in our bodies it corrodes our very tissues.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all we had to do to correct this problem was to take large calcium tablets? Unfortunately, this does not work. It would be like trying to fill a water bucket that has a hole in the bottom.
Back in high school chemistry, we learned about pH: A pH of 7.0 is neutral on the pH scale between acid and alkaline. In order to stop molecules like enzymes from going haywire, the body keeps its pH very close to 7.4—which is slightly on the alkaline side of neutral. This balance has a medical term called “homeostasis”. When we tilt toward greater acidity and throw off the acid-alkaline balance, we have a greater risk for developing osteoporosis, weak muscles, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, kidney disease and cancer.
The important key to maintaining a healthy balance, according to doctors and nutritionists, is eating a diet that is balanced in acid and alkaline forming foods. Unfortunately, very few people do. The typical diet consists of meat, dairy and grains which are all acid forming foods and low in fresh vegetables and fruit which are alkaline forming foods.
When the acid-yielding foods lower the body’s pH, the kidneys coordinate efforts to buffer that acidity. The kidneys signal the bones to release calcium and magnesium to re-establish alkalinity, and muscles are broken down to release ammonia, which is strongly alkaline.
So, what options do you have to fight osteoporosis? Prescription drugs are one avenue to take, but possible side affects listed from the Physician’s Desk Reference include, abdominal pain, bone and joint pain, muscle pain, nausea and indigestion. Not so pleasant!
The other avenue to take is a lot healthier. Change your diet and start an exercise program. This non-medical approach can pay huge dividends to the overall health of your body, not just your bones. Its side affects include renewed energy, better digestion, less pain in your joints and stronger bones. You should see the positive gains with your next bone density test. For best results, get a professional to design a program that best suits you.