How Does Juicing Help Bones?

Juicing is an easy way to consume high concentrates of all the vitamins, minerals, and compounds necessary to build bone health and also helps balance the body's acid-alkaline balance. Unlike meats and dairy products, which create an acidic environment in the body that has been shown to reduce the incidence of fractures, fruits and vegetables used in juicing are low in acids and high in alkaline ingredients.

Juicing for Osteopenia and Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bones. Osteopenia is the precursor to osteoporosis; the bones are beginning to lose density, and osteoporosis will develop if proper precautions are not taken. The lower your bone density, the higher your risk for broken bones. Although it's natural for bones to lose density after age thirty, certain conditions increase your risk of brittle bones. Genetics play a role, but so does lifestyle. If you don't consume sufficient amounts of bone-building nutrients, such as calcium and phosphorous, you may be more likely to develop osteoporosis or osteopenia. Certain medicines, such as steroids and excessive amounts of thyroid medications, thin bones.

Because the female hormone estrogen helps regulate calcium absorption in the bone, osteopenia and osteoporosis are very common among post-menopausal women because of their naturally declining estrogen levels. They affect millions of people in the United States, especially women over the age of fifty.

Although medications have traditionally been used to halt or reverse the progression of osteopenia and osteoporosis, they come with side effects. Some people who prefer not to deal with these have turned to nutritional “cures,” including consuming a low-acid diet high in fruits and vegetables that build bone.

The Benefit of Low-Acid Diets

Several recent studies show that consuming a diet low in acids found in meats and dairy, and high in the vitamins and minerals found in produce, can dramatically improve bone health and prevent osteopenia and osteoporosis.

In a study of more than 3,000 women in Scotland, researchers found that bone mineral density was 2 percent higher in women who consumed the lowest acid diets compared with those who ate the highest acid diets. Among pre-menopausal women, hip bone mineral density was 8 percent higher and lumbar spine density 6 percent higher in those who consumed the most potassium. The study concluded that women who consume low acid diets are 30 percent less likely to suffer risk fractures in old age.

Nutrients that Help Osteoporosis

In addition to calcium and other previously mentioned nutrients, there are still more vitamins and minerals that may help reduce or prevent osteoporosis, according to Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General from the National Institutes of Health Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center. The following nutrients are essential for bone health, according to the report:

  • Copper assists in the regulation of certain enzymes that promote strong bone strength. Consuming too little copper can result in brittle bones.

  • Fluoride plays a role in stimulating the growth of new bone and promotes the healthy development of bones and teeth.

  • Silicon promotes strong bones and teeth.

  • Iron promotes the healthy functioning of certain enzymes that play a role in bone strength.

  • Magnesium helps calcium move in and out of bones and enhances bone strength. Consuming too little magnesium can also prevent the body from using estrogen properly. Studies suggest that not getting magnesium may interfere with our ability to process calcium. Sixty percent of the magnesium in the body is found in the bones in combination with calcium and phosphorous.

  • Manganese helps build connective tissues, especially cartilage.

  • Phosphorous is a component of every cell in the body and supports building bone and other tissue during growth.

  • Potassium helps stabilize electrolytes in the body, which in turn leads to healthy bones.

  • Protein is the body's building block for building tissue during growth and repairing and replacing tissue throughout life. It is also needed to help heal fractures and to make sure the immune system is functioning properly.

  • Zinc helps stimulate protein synthesis in bone.

Foods that Interfere with Calcium Absorption

According to the Office of the Surgeon General, caffeine studies suggest that caffeine may interfere with calcium absorption. However, this effect can be neutralized in the presence of adequate dietary calcium.

In addition, when oxalates and calcium are found in the same food, oxalates combine with the calcium, preventing you from absorbing the calcium. Foods that are high in calcium as well as oxalates include beets, rhubarb, and spinach.

Phosphorous is necessary for healthy bones, but some studies suggest that excess amounts of phosphorous may interfere with calcium absorption. The good news is that you can offset the loss by getting adequate amounts of calcium in your diet. The RDA is 700 mg for men and women over age thirty. You should not take in more than 4,000 mg if you are under age seventy or more than 3,000 mg if you are older than seventy.

Too much protein in your diet may convert the extra protein into calories for energy, producing a chemical called sulfate in the process. Sulfate causes loss of calcium.

Sodium also affects the balance of calcium in the body by increasing the amount you excrete in urine and perspiration. Vitamin A also plays an important role in bone growth, but excessive amounts of the retinol form of vitamin A may increase the breakdown of bones and interfere with vitamin D, which is needed to absorb calcium. The beta-carotene form of vitamin A does not appear to cause these problems. Ipriflavone, a synthetic isoflavone, has been linked to a reduction in lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that fights infection.

Fruits and Vegetables that Help Prevent Osteoporosis and Bone Disease

You can find all of the nutrients you need for increased bone health in fresh fruits and vegetables that are suitable for juicing, according to the National Institutes for Health.

Copper is found in nuts, seeds, wheat bran, cereals, whole grain products, and cocoa products.

Boron is found avocado, nuts, and prune juice.

Fluoride is found in fluoridated water and teas.

Iron is found in parsley, cruciferous veggies, carrots, beets with greens, pineapple, and blackberries.

Silicon is found in root veggies, cucumbers, and bell peppers.

Isoflavones are found primarily in soybeans and soy products, chickpeas, and other legumes.

Magnesium is found in leafy vegetables such as spinach, potatoes, nuts, seeds, whole grains including bran, wheat, oats, and chocolate. Smaller amounts are found in bananas, broccoli, raisins, and shrimp.

Manganese is found in cruciferous veggies, spinach, beets, apples, tangerines, pears, and oranges.

Phosphorous is found in milk, yogurt, ice cream, cheese, peas, meat, and eggs.

Potassium is found in milk, yogurt, chicken, turkey, fish, bananas, raisins, cantaloupe, celery, carrots, potatoes, and tomatoes.

Vitamin C is found in citrus fruit, tomatoes and tomato juice, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, strawberries, cabbage, and spinach.

Protein is found in legumes, grains, nuts, seeds, and vegetables.

Vitamin K is found in collards, spinach, salad greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, plant oils, and margarine. Patients on anticoagulant medication should work with their physicians to monitor their vitamin K intake to ensure they consume the right amount. Consuming too much or too little vitamin K can interfere with blood clotting.

Zinc is found in whole grains, dry beans, and nuts. Nutritionists recommend that vegetarians double the RDA, as zinc is harder to absorb on a vegetarian diet. Calcium supplementation may reduce the absorption of zinc.

Calcium is found in cruciferous veggies, string beans, oranges, celery, carrots, lettuce, watercress, beet greens, kale, parsley, and broccoli.

Vitamin D is found in sunflower seeds, sunflower sprouts, and mushrooms.

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