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Supporting bone health is more than just eating dairy products or taking a calcium supplement. In fact, calcium supplements, unless properly balanced with other vitamins and minerals can cause calcification where we don’t want it.
Whole Foods Diet to the Rescue!
Below is a list of vitamins and minerals that will help build strong bones and prevent osteoporosis.
Vitamin D3 helps the body absorb calcium. The best source of vitamin D3 is appropriate sunlight exposure. In areas further away from the equator, which experience cold winters, a vitamin D3 supplement might be necessary.
Calcium is best if it comes from food as it is better absorbed and utilized. Some good sources of calcium are: raw milk cheese from grass-fed cows, leafy greens, carob, sesame seeds, molasses, tahini, almonds, almond butter, canned salmon (with the bones), sardines and dried figs.
Vitamin K2 directs calcium to the skeleton, moving calcium into bones and teeth preventing it from being deposited where we don’t want it (organs, joints, arteries), and removes calcium from arteries and soft tissues. Vitamin K protects blood vessels from calcifying and building up in coronary arteries. Some good sources of vitamin K2 are: leafy greens, lacto-fermented foods (fermented vegetables, natto), eggs and butter from pasture-fed animals, vitamin K2 supplements. A deficiency of vitamin K2 can produce vitamin D supplement toxicity.
Magnesium and calcium should be in a ratio of 1:1. Some good sources of magnesium are: raw cacao, chlorophyll rich foods, seaweed, leafy greens, spinach, chard, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds. Magnesium can also be absorbed in an Epsom salt bath.
Phosphorus- some good sources of phosphorus are: pumpkin seeds, salmon, brazil nuts, lean beef and lentils.
Silica- some good sources of silica are: leeks, green beans, garbanzo beans, strawberries, cucumber, mango, celery, asparagus and rhubarb.
Trace Minerals-some good sources of trace minerals are: unrefined Himalayan crystal salt and sea salt.
Vitamin C-some good sources of vitamin C are: peppers, brassicas (cabbage family plants), guava, papaya, kiwi,orange and strawberries.
Vitamin A- some good sources of vitamin A are: sweet potato, with skin, pumpkin, carrot juice, carrots, squash, butternut and Swiss chard.
Vitamin E- some good sources of vitamin E are: dark leafy greens, spinach, almonds, sunflower seeds and avocados.
Decrease mineral binding phytic acid in grains and legumes. If including grains and legumes in the diet, make sure they are soaked or fermented and properly prepared for proper digestion.
Weight-bearing and strength training exercise help to keep bones strong as we age.
Avoid processed foods which are devoid of many vitamins and minerals necessary for strong bones and teeth. Processed foods may fulfill our caloric needs but often leave us overfed and undernourished because of their lack of nutrients.
What is the thyroid?
The thyroid is an endocrine gland. It helps to regulate metabolism and weight. Thyroid hormones influence every cell and process in the body including growth and development.
How does it work?
The thyroid produces three types of hormones: T3, T4, and T2. These hormones interact with all other hormones in our bodies. The liver converts T4 into T3 (the active form). T3 lowers cholesterol levels, regrows hair and helps maintain body weight by controlling metabolism. T3 can be disrupted by stress, infections, nutritional imbalances, toxins and allergens.
Hypothyroidism is and under-active thyroid, when when our bodies don’t produce enough thyroid hormone. Many, many people have sub-clinical hypothyroidism with no obvious signs or symptoms.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
- Some symptoms of Hypothyroidism include: tiring easily and lack of sustained energy, depression, feeling of a “heavy” head, falling asleep sitting up, weight gain, dry skin and chronic hives, hair loss, always feeling cold, low basal body temperature, stiff and popping joints, tingling and numbness.
Hyperthyroidism is an over-active thyroid, when the thyroid secretes too much T4.
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
- Some symptoms of hyperthyroidism are: protruding eyes, menstrual cycle irregularities, weight loss, heartbeat irregularities, emotional instability, lack of mental focus, nervousness, restlessness, and frequent bowel movements.
Possible Causes of Thyroid Dysfunction and What to Avoid
Some possible underlying causes of thyroid dysfunction include: radiation exposure, chronic stress, nutrient debt (from eating processed foods, low HCl and malabsorption), heavy metal accumulation, pesticides, halogens (bromides, fluoride, chlorine), dysbiosis, free radical damage (low antioxidants), low iodine levels, low selenium levels, yo-yo dieting, metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance) and goitrogens (in soy and cabbage family foods), Food allergies and sensitivities, and gluten sensitivity.
Testing thyroid function
Lab tests may be done to access the function of the thyroid including: TSH test, free T4 and free T3 test, and a thyroid antibody test to test for an autoimmune reaction. A self test can be performed as an initial indicator of low thyroid by taking our temperature, with a basal body thermometer, each morning, before getting out of bed, for at least three days. Average body temperature measurements should not be below 97.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 36.4 degrees Celsius.
What to Add In
Things to add in to our diets and lifestyles to nourish the thyroid include:
- “Clean” whole foods (as opposed to processed foods) to help reduce her exposure to toxins in the diet, particularly pesticides as they interfere with iodine uptake.
- Shop the outside perimeter of the grocery store looking for nutrient dense, unprocessed whole foods.
- A primarily plant based diet of brightly colored vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds, will provide her with plenty of fiber and antioxidants.
- Meals including protein and healthy fats to help us feel more satisfied and support blood sugar stability. healthy fats such as butter, coconut oil, egg yolks and omega 3 oils (like those found in cold water fish, walnuts and pecans, will not make us fat but instead nourish the thyroid and help to regulate our weight).
- Slow down, careful chewing, avoiding or limiting convenience foods (which lead to inflammation and thyroid problems), as well as drinking between meals (not with meals) so as to not dilute HCl.
- Drinking pure or filtered water, which does not contain any fluoride or Chlorine.
- Sea foods and Sea vegetables, (such as: kelp flakes or mixed seaweed flakes), rich in trace minerals and iodine, have a salty flavor and can be added (undetected) to soups and stews. Note: Iodine containing foods are recommended for non-autoimmune thyroiditis only. For autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s), they should be avoided.
*For more information on Hashimoto’s and molecular mimicry, see my tip on going gluten free.
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Eat The Old-Fashioned Way
This post is a continuation of the post about basing our diet on simple, old fashioned foods. As much as possible we should try to eat natural whole foods that our grandparents and great grandparents and great great grandparents would have recognized.
Foods Are Like Drugs
The foods that we eat and the beverages we drink make up every cell of our bodies. Foods are like drugs, and they send powerful chemical messages all over our bodies, including our brains. Everything we choose to eat and drink has a huge impact on our health and how we feel physically and mentally.
As we are in January and beginning a new year, and as we want to make better choices for ourselves and our family in the coming year, it’s time to take stock of what it is we have in stock.
Out With The Old and What Is Not Serving Us
We already talked about cutting out the diet foods and overly processed sugary foods and processed carbohydrates. We talked about replacing the damaged processed fats with healthy fats. Now is the time to consider clearing out all the products from our pantries, refrigerators and freezers that aren’t serving us in our endeavor for weight loss and overall health. Ditch the energy drinks and candy bars. Ditch the breakfast cereals loaded with sugar. Breakfast cereal out of a box really isn’t the best start to our day anyway. Ditch the bags of chips and salty snacks, particularly the ones flavored with MSG or hidden as “yeast extract“.
Become A Food Detective
In general, go through your kitchen and be a bit of a detective. Read the labels. If there are ingredients in your food that you have never heard of and have no idea what they are, get rid of them. Why would we eat things when we don’t even know what they are? And why the heck do we need modified corn starch, propylene glycol, carrageenan and gelatin in our 0% fat yogurt? Ironically these ingredients don’t belong in our yogurt but the fat does! Did you know we can’t even utilize the calcium in the yogurt without the fat anyway? Choose a yogurt that is just real, whole yogurt. Locally where I live, Tree Island Yogurt is my choice.
If you want to know more about reading labels and the about the detrimental ingredients in our foods, check out Vani Hari at the Food Babe.
If you want to put on weight, go on a calorie restricting diet. You will inevitably lose weight at first but by the time you’re done, you’ll have added an extra 5, 10, 15…pounds. Why is it that diets don’t work? If you’re carrying excess body weight, there’s a reason for it. Your body isn’t some stupid lug that doesn’t know what it’s doing. Your body is ALWAYS looking out for your best interest. The reason that diets don’t work is your body’s perception of stress. I’ll speak more about stress in a later post but the human body is programmed to respond to stress as a signal for: fight, flight, fright, freeze, or famine. In the case of dieting, in order to save you from eminent death, your body packs on weight. When you diet, your body can perceive your decreased caloric intake as starvation and say, “don’t worry buddy, I’ve got your back, I’ll pack a little extra away for later”.
Yo-yo dieting can also lead to highs and lows in blood sugar which can cause insulin and leptin hormone dis-regulation. Your goal should be to maintain a steady blood sugar level. This can be achieved by eating a healthy wholefoods diet, and by avoiding refined sugar and carbohydrates, and processed foods. More on what a ‘healthy’ diet looks like in posts to come!