Osteoporosis and fizzy drinks health risks

The Good Life Letter

Friday 9th December 2011

  • Why wealth & fitness don't always go hand in hand
  • Discover the truth about the fizzy drinks health risks
  • Top tips to beat osteoporosis and boost bone health

The old turkey wishbone may not be the only thing snapping this Christmas...

I've written before about the curse of osteoporosis and how it affects those of us who are old enough to remember when St.Nick didn't need a SatNav to locate every chimney in the land.

But this new threat isn't just for us old folk though, worryingly now our children are at risk of developing weak bones.

Recent reports suggest that rickets is on the rise again - a disease that was always associated with poverty and malnutrition.

That's simply not the case this time round though.

It would be so easy to dismiss these articles by saying that it is to be expected in tough economic times, and that poor families are struggling. But surprisingly, the rise is actually within the middle and upper class families.
Bizarrely it also has nothing to do with the food they are eating either... well not much.

It seems we are all guilty of staying indoors too much and are therefore not getting enough sunshine to help us make the vitamin D to keep our bones healthy.

This is a real problem for teenagers within the more affluent sectors of society where they no longer socialise in the real world, choosing instead to 'meet' their friends on the computer, their mobile phone or games console.
Mum and Dad are lapping up the latest technologies turning their children into little Gollums up and down the land; spending all their time in darkened rooms.

You read that right, our children are now staying in their bedrooms for days on end without actually meeting anyone else.

This can't be healthy can it?

Where have the mass games of football in the park gone from our youth, the fox and hound chases that lasted for days on end and the tree climbing challenges?

And whilst we all tut and decry the failings of our younger generation we need to think about ourselves in this as well.

Just how much time are we spending out and about?

BUT there is also a new culprit looming large on the horizon, which coupled with the nations couch potato lifestyle could be the perfect storm for poor health.

Let me explain.

The hidden dangers of fizzy drinks

At this time of year we are told to drink plenty of soft drinks to stay healthy during the party season.

But when I began to look into the question of healthy bones in modern life I discovered that your soft drink might be putting you, and your kids at risk.

Researchers have been discovering that carbonated drinks rich in phosphoric acid cause lasting and long term damage to our bones.

Reaching for a cola, cherryade or even a caffeine-rich drink might be the worst thing we can do.

But the risk isn't confined to the multinational (and highly litigious) drinks brands - even sparkling water has been shown to cause a weakening of the bony structure of the skeleton.

For those who are already at risk of conditions like rickets, osteopenia and osteoporosis having ANY fizzy drinks massively increases those risks.

So what can you do to help everyone avoid the long term consequences of failing skeletal strength?
Let me give you a few pointers.

The building blocks for better bone health

Eating a good balanced diet, avoiding smoking and maintaining a healthy weight are key factors in building strong bones.

But don't forget to get outside since maintaining levels of vitamin D through diet and exposure to sunlight is also important.

Here's an old favourite of mine that has cropped up again in my research and is always praised by my loyal readers...

Apple cider vinegar helps the body absorb calcium. Naturally there has to be calcium present in your diet, but if you're not absorbing it, it's not doing you any good and could even make things worse.

In addition we need to avoid the compounds that PREVENT the body using the calcium. The chief dietary culprit for this is phosphorous, and that is found in huge quantities in cola. Which is another good reason to avoid the over sweet sickly stuff.

You need to correctly balance your intake of calcium and magnesium, and should aim for a ratio of one part calcium to two parts magnesium. Try a supplement like [G & G's CAL-M] to make sure you are getting the correct ratio. 

Whatever you do don't take antacids in the belief that they contain the right sort of calcium, they don't and in some cases contain talcum powder which can be toxic in high levels!

Finally, there are a few herbs which can prove effective:

  • Comfrey, traditionally known as 'Knit Bone', can help fractures heal and also promotes the uptake of calcium, magnesium and phosphate to build bone matrix.
  • Marshmallow, Skullcap & White Oak Bark are rich in calcium in a readily absorbed form.
  • Queen of the Meadow is rich in vitamin D

Smokers: Curb your cravings and protect yourself from nicotine

You don't need me to tell you to quit.  You already know that.
Instead here are a few natural ways to curb cravings and protect your body from the perils of nicotine:

  • Gotu Kola has been used as a medicinal herb for thousands of years in India.  It is said to control the imbalance in your body's chemical makeup that occurs when you have an addiction.
  • Avena Sativa is another traditional Indian herb which was used for centuries to treat opium addiction. Recent studies suggest it could help numb nicotine cravings.
  • Ashwagandha is yet another herb to look into. Considered to be one of the most powerful and useful Ayurvedic remedies it improves immunity and helps your body cope with chemical stresses - which is exactly what it's going through when you give up smoking.

(The above previously appeared in the chapter on quitting smoking in my book [The Spice Healer].)

Yours, as always






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