Tag Archives: osteoporosis

Robbers and Builders

Weight bearing exercise builds bone.

Perhaps you have the same scary image of your bones as I sometimes do:  picture a spongy, crater-strewn tube of once solid bone connecting all our moving parts.  I must have seen horrifying graphic of osteoporosis somewhere.  It looks like Orlando does from the air — a thin sheet of brittle material barely connecting all those round lakes and sinkholes.  What keeps it from caving in on itself?  That’s one of the thoughts that send me to my treadmill when I just don’t feel like it. I fit the osteoporosis risk profile too closely – older, small boned woman of Anglo-European heritage.

It’s the same with teeth, right?  Even though I suspect one doesn’t get the same benefit from crunching corn nuts as from carrots, the principle is the same – when you exert pressure on those calcium filled gnashers, you build bone and your teeth last longer.

What is the role  of diet in this bone-building equation?   I thought that was a no-brainer as well until I read this clever series from health.msn.com. Even though as adults we don’t drink much milk, I imagine you are as mindful as I am about getting enough calcium from other sources – leafy greens, fortified soy, supplements and so forth.

What a surprise to find that legumes are robbers!!  Our good protein friends — beans, beans the musical fruit, the more you eat, the more you … increase protein, right?  Pinto beans (burritos!), kidney beans (great in salad!), garbanzo beans (mashed with tahini in hummus!), navy beans (in the U. S. Senate cafeteria no less) — all legumes are high in fiber, low in fat, high in protein.  However–

The Robber:  Beans have a substance – phytates – that bind with calcium preventing absorption.  Thus the “robber” effect. A thief in the night — who knew?

The Builder:  No need to get out your shotgun or install a burglar alarm.  Just soak the beans overnight and cook in fresh water.  Then wait a couple of hours after eating to take a calcium supplement — even if you just carry an antacid in your pocket.

Check out the link to more “Robbers and Builders” right here:

Some of your favorite foods and beverages may be undermining your efforts to keep your bones healthy. Here’s what you can do about it.