Bone Strengthening Foods

Bone Strengthening Foods

As we grow older there’s no escaping the changes that happen to our body, however we can do things to slow this ageing process and the worries we have about it.

Thinning, weakening and brittle bones are one of the dreaded markers of ageing. More than half of all caucasian women age 50 and older are estimated to have low bone mass, which means their bones are getting weaker but they don’t yet have osteoporosis.  If not addressed, everyday tasks such as carrying groceries, opening jars, walking, reaching for high shelves can become difficult and filled with fear for people whose bones have developed osteoporosis.


 

Chinese medicine with it’s 5 element food medicine, Qi Gong and Acupressure can help you manage the physical, mental and emotional transitions of ageing. For the month of December we will be practicing Qi Gong and Acupressure to build strong bones and slow the ageing process.

Im 54 and I have been using Chinese Medicine for over 25 years and I share here how this system of holistic health keeps my bones strong.

From about age 25 to age 50, bone density tends to stay stable with equal amounts of bone formation and bone breakdown. After age 50, bone breakdown outpaces bone formation and bone loss often accelerates, particularly at the time of menopause. The risk increases at menopause, when levels of bone-bolstering oestrogen fall. Men are also at risk as even though they don’t usually experience dramatic hormonal change, because life expectancy continues to rise, men over the age of 70 can experience slow, progressive bone loss.

 

In Chinese Medicine, the body and it’s organs are divided into five energetic systems or elements; wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Each of these elements have a time of day, a season, a flavour, a sensory organ and a body part. The water element is linked to the Kidney and Bladder which in turn govern the spine, the bones, brain, reproductive organs, hormonal and nervous system.

Therefore Osteoporosis, in Chinese Medicine would essentially be treated by supporting the Water element and the Kidney System, the flavour for which is salty.

What can we eat?
Let’s look at foods that have a salty flavour and would support the energetic Kidney system and most importantly, the bones.
Obviously salt has the saltiest of flavours so making sure we have enough good natural sea salt in our diet is essential. Because sea salt is minimally processed it contains minerals such as potassium, iron, magnesium and most importantly for bones, calcium. It also helps regulate fluid balance and blood pressure in the body.

However too much of a good thing can tip the yin yang balance so don’t over do the salt by eating foods packed with refined table salt such as crisps (chips) popcorn, pre-packaged ready meals, processed, smoked or canned meat, such as bacon, cold cuts, ham, frankfurters, and sausage as this can have the reverse effect and increase blood pressure and weaken bones.

Foods with a salty flavour usually have a high mineral content so eating these foods rather than relying on salt alone will mean your bones stay strong. Calcium is the most important mineral for bone health. However, there are other minerals such as copper, magnesium, boron, iron, potassium and zinc that play an important role as well. The good news is that a balanced diet that include salty tasting foods such as

  • miso
  • bone broth
  • oats
  • barley
  • oysters
  • broccoli & green leafy veg
  • daikon radish
  • dandelion root
  • chicory root
  • adzuki beans
  • celery
  • wheatgrass, barley grass
  • sesame seeds
  • eggs
  • spiriulina
  • and my favourite, seaweed

should meet your daily magnesium and calcium requirements.

Studies show “Magnesium deficiency contributes to osteoporosis directly by acting on crystal formation and on bone cells and indirectly by impacting on the secretion and the activity of parathyroid hormone and by promoting low grade inflammation.”*
All edible seaweeds contains high amounts of magnesium and calcium in a format that’s super easily absorbed by the body. This mineral rich, salty flavoured food will really nourish the kidneys and the whole skeletal system.

You can find lots of seaweed plus salty food recipes and full list of kidney supporting in my 5 element cook books that cover the colours, the foods, emotions, seasons, acupressure points, and energy exercises for each specific organ and system.

I eat seaweed every day, whether sprinkled on eggs or avocado or larger flakes added to stews and rice as they cook.

For the whole month of December we will be practicing Bone Marrow Qi Gong, learning acupressure points and sharing food medicine to build strong bones and slow the ageing process.

Exercise is an important aspect of bone strength you can read more in my next blog or even sign up for a special bone building Qi Gong class at the end of November.

Qigong, combines gentle movements, controlled breathing, and focused meditation. It is designed to cultivate and balance the body’s life force energy, promoting overall well-being. 

Every journey starts with a single step, let a simple daily Qi Gong practice guide you on a transformative path towards renewed vitality, fortified bones, and a joyful heart connected life.

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Foods For an Overheated Menopause

Foods For an Overheated Menopause

Yin deficiency means that the body is lacking in the moistening fluids that relax the body.

In times of extreme stress the body can generate severe amounts of heat which burn off yin fluids. Plus, stress and fear produce adrenaline and cortisol which contract the kidneys meaning further depletion of yin fluids.

Blood is one of the manifestations of yin within the body therefore any severe blood loss caused by accidents, operations or heavy menstruation, especially during menopause, will lead to a yin deficiency.

So choose food that nourishes the kidneys, fluids and mineral balance within our body such as Seaweeds, Spiriulina and Chlorella. Wheatgrass and other Chlorophyll rich foods will build healthy blood and therefore boost Yin.  For a full list see my books where you will each organ broken down into flavour, function, emotion and season in Chinese medicine.

Avoid stimulants such as fizzy drinks and coffee and look at how you are cooking. Are you using cooking methods such as baking and steaming which support Yin or are you deep frying and microwaving? The latter two will weaken the Yin, blood and body.

Whilst it is great to have foods that promote Yin cooling fluids to counteract the Yang heat and dryness, it is important to have a practice that promotes Yin in the body such as Qi Gong or Yin Yoga. At an emotional level it is good to know how to switch off and let the universe be in control for a while.

Quite often, as women we run a busy house or have a busy job and we are used to being in control and multi tasking.  If this is you it could mean that by the time you get to menopause, peri-menopause and beyond there is no Yin left in the tank to cool the body and support the natural process of ageing. Every Yang action needs to originate from the still Yin point within us. So take time to let go of control and receive the magic that is possible if we practice the art of allowing.

Find a practice or a time in your day to connect with that deep part of ourselves that can be nourished by rest and breath – this is Yin.

For the whole month of March we will be focusing on breath and movement for Menopause and beyond.  Why not receive the free mini ebook with a recipe, acupoint and recipe or join me for the free class at the end of February.

From a Western Medicine point of view, oats are high in magnesium and help to calm the body and build sexual energy. They contain a nervine alkaloid called Avinine which, on a long-term basis, works to restore the nervous system.

Oats are a popular breakfast food and this recipe is perfect for a weekend brunch. It’s rich and sweet yet still full of soluble fibres to help remove cholesterol from the large intestine. In addition, oats are a great source of manganese, selenium, vitamin B1 and magnesium. They regulate hormones and the spontaneous sweating associated with fluctuating hormones.

Mixing the oats with pecans, which are full of pyridoxine (vitamin B6), further increases the usage of amino acids found in plant protein available
in oats. In terms of Chinese Medicine this means pecans transform nutritional essence, which feed the kidneys, into usable energy. In this way, they reduce nervous tension and overproduction of hormones; balancing the Yin & Yang

 

Baked Porridge

  • 200g rolled oats
  • 60g walnut or pecan pieces
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 475ml almond milk/goats milk or any plant based milk of choice
  • 1 large egg
  • 60g unsalted melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 60ml maple syrup
  • 2 or 3 ripe bananas
  • 200g mixed berries

Method:Butter a 20cm square (or anything similar) baking dish, chop the banana into medallions and line the base, cover with half of the berries. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and the wet ingredients in a jug. Cover the fruits in the baking dish with the oat mixture and the remaining fruits sprinkle on top. Pour the milk mixture slowly over the oats and fruits and pop it in the preheated oven at 190 degrees for 45 minutes. It is both breakfast and dessert.

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