Be Young and Healthy by Building Strong
By Monique N. Gilbert
are the body's foundation. Having strong dense bones is essential to good posture,
strength and balance. The quality of our skeletal structure has a direct impact
on our appearance, vitality and energy level. The better we stand, walk and move
around, the more youthful we will look and feel. Building and maintaining strong
healthy bones is a lifelong concern because our bones are living tissue in a constant
state of renewal. Most people believe thin weak bones are an inevitable part of
aging. However, research is showing this may not be the case. Bone loss and osteoporosis
can be prevented and possibly reversed with proper diet and lifestyle. Two of
the easiest ways to achieve this is by eating more soy-based calcium rich foods
and including weight-bearing activities in our daily routine.
A vital factor
in keeping our bones strong and healthy is the ability to absorb and retain calcium.
It doesn't matter how much calcium we take in if our body is not assimilating
it properly. Diets high in animal protein leach calcium and other important minerals
from the bones. They cause our body's acid loads to increase, which forces our
system to pump more water into the kidneys to help flush it out. This diuretic
response results in excessive calcium and magnesium excretion, which leads to
osteoporosis. Independent studies conducted at various universities in the United
States and Hong Kong indicate soy foods can have a protective effect on our bones.
That soy protein enhances calcium retention and absorption, resulting in less
excretion in the urine. They found soy's protein and isoflavones increase bone
mineral content, density, quality and strength. They also noted that soy helps
the body's ability to rebuild bone, and may even reverse osteoporosis. Soy foods
like tofu made with calcium sulfate, tempeh and fortified soymilk provide calcium,
magnesium and isoflavones our body can more easily absorb and retain. Soy foods
are also a complete high-quality vegetable protein source without the saturated
fat and cholesterol found in animal proteins.
While diet can help build
strong dense bones, it alone will not produce the same bone improving effects
than when combined with exercise. Each enhances and compliments the other in preventing
osteoporosis. Weight bearing and aerobic exercises are necessary to create bone
building benefits. Any activity that causes you to lift weight, including your
own body weight, is considered a weight bearing exercise. Some examples include
stair climbing, squats, pushups, sit-ups, or any movement with some kind of heavy
weight (like dumbbells) involved. Even gardening and house cleaning can become
weight bearing exercises if we do a squat instead of just bending over to pick
things up. Walking, hiking, jogging and dancing are activities that are considered
both weight-bearing and aerobic. Among these, walking is the simplest and safest
method of building and maintaining healthy bones. No special equipment or training
is needed, and it is very easy on the joints. Walking strengthens bones and muscles
while at the same time increases stamina and endurance. Begin by walking 30 minutes
a day, 3 to 4 days a week. Don't think of distance, just try to walk as briskly
as possible while maintaining good posture. The pace should be fast enough to
get a good workout and still be able to hold a conversation.
As our life
expectancies increase, preventive measures must be taken to ensure that we keep
our bones strong and dense. By eating more soy foods and less animal protein,
we will be better able to absorb and retain calcium in our bones and prevent osteoporosis.
By walking and increasing our activitylevels, we will help our bones gain strength
and improve muscle tone. These simple dietary and lifestyle changes will also
increase energy levels, enhance mobility and help us stay young at any age.
Copyright © Monique N. Gilbert - All Rights Reserved.
N. Gilbert, B.Sc., is a Health Advocate, Certified Personal Trainer/Fitness Counselor,
Recipe Developer, Soy Food Connoisseur and author of "Virtues of Soy: A Practical
Health Guide and Cookbook" (Universal Publishers, $19.95, available at most
Author Bio . . .
N. Gilbert has a Bachelor of Science degree, is a Certified Personal Trainer/Fitness
Counselor and Health Advocate. She began a low-fat, whole grain, vegetable-rich
diet in the mid-1970's. This introduced her to a healthier way of eating and became
the foundation of her dietary choices as an adult. She became a full-fledged vegetarian
on Earth Day 1990. Over the years she has increased her knowledge and understanding
about health and fitness, and the important role diet plays in a person's strength,
vitality and longevity. In addition to writing articles, Monique also has an "Ask
the Expert" column at the Veggies Unite!
website where she gives advice about health, fitness and vegetarian/vegan
diets. Monique feels it is her mission to educate and enlighten everyone about
the benefits of healthy eating and living.
believe all Americans who believe in freedom, tolerance and human rights have
a responsibility to oppose bigotry and prejudice based on sexual orientation."
- Coretta Scott King
Feminist Women's Health Center