Angelika Schwamberger is a full-time SAGE instructor and writes a monthly Health Newsletter for the CNM Community. Excerpts from this newsletter will be reprinted monthly.
Calcium Cantata: “Grandma fell and broke her hip!” The truth is that grandma’s hip very likely broke before she fell, and that is why she fell. Yes, we are talking about osteoporosis.
Now if you are under 30, don’t think osteoporosis isn’t anything for you to worry about. Instead, these are the years you have to build strong bones so you don’t end up like grandma.
First, avoid sodas and smoking as well as excessive caffeine consumption. (See below for moderate coffee consumption.) Avoid those energy drinks with lots more caffeine than an average cup of coffee.
So does taking calcium help? A 2007 study of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that effects of dietary calcium are superior to effects from calcium supplements alone.
The best sources of dietary calcium, according to Dr. Mercola, are natto, a Japanese food not usually fancied by Americans, Himalayan salt, green vegetables, as well as olive oil, coconut oil, and krill oil. He also advises against a low fat diet. Strangely enough, milk or milk products are not on his list.
I tried natto last week since I am lactose intolerant, and natto doesn’t taste as bad as it looks. Avoid smoking, sodas, high caffeine intake and excessive protein in your diet to prevent bone loss. This is especially important before age 30 when the body still has the ability to build strong bones.
Do men need calcium? If course! Men over 50 are at a greater risk for developing osteoporosis than prostate cancer and risk factors include obesity, alcoholism, smoking, gastrointestinal disorders, a sedentary lifestyle, and lack of sunlight, according to Dr. Mercola.
Bones are living tissue composed of many minerals, and a healthy diet and weight bearing exercise is preferable to taking calcium supplements alone, says Dr. Mercola.
Dr. Weil recommends two doses of 500 to 700 mg of calcium citrate with meals for a total intake of 1,000-1,200 mg total from all sources including food, plus 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily to promote calcium absorption.
Coffee Controversy: Is coffee good or bad for you? Some studies conducted in Europe and published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 8/2006 found that coffee provided some protection against age-related decline.
The Journal of the American Medical Association found in nine studies published 7/6/2005 that coffee reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes. There are some negative effects to coffee such as irritation of the digestive system, bladder, prostate and lymphatic system, anxiety, insomnia, and irregular heartbeat.
How coffee affects you should decide whether to drink it or not and how much, says Dr. Weil.
If you drink coffee because you feel sluggish or sleepy, Dr. Weil recommends a daily multivitamin to ensure that you get the energy you need to optimize emotional and physical well-being.
He stresses that supplements are not substitutes for good diets, however, but insurance against gaps in our diet if you are skipping meals or eating food that is not fresh or filled with the nutrients you need.