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The Causes of Osteoporosis and Natural Prevention Tips

More than 54 million people suffer low bone mass and osteoporosis in the United States. To some extent it’s a preventable condition, but if someone is affected and the condition is allowed to progress, it can lead to a bent posture, which means a loss of height, sometimes a humpback, and often acute pain.

What is osteoporosis?

image of osteoporosis
If you aren’t familiar with osteoporosis, let’s define it. It’s a disease that results in the loss of bone strength to the extent that broken bones become a real risk! Although anyone can be susceptible, for the elderly, osteoporosis has become the main cause for broken bones. Weight-bearing bones in the hip, back, and forearm are most susceptible. Breaks in these important bones wreak havoc on a person’s mobility.

Unfortunately, symptoms often don’t appear until a bone actually breaks. A bone can become so weak, it may snap with very minor stress, or even spontaneously. Obviously, when that occurs, the person who has such a break experiences prolonged pain and difficulty performing their daily activities.

Causes of osteoporosis

Here are some of the conditions that create weakened bones:

  • Inactivity
  • Aging
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Long-term use of certain medications
  • Steroid use
  • Low vitamin D levels
  • Emotional stress
  • Nutritional deficiencies

There are additional risk factors, including but not limited to:

  • Gender – More women are at risk of contraction osteoporosis than men
  • Age – Older people are more susceptible than younger people
  • Body size – Smaller and thinner people are at greater risk
  • Ethnicity and family history – If relatives historically had a low bone mass, a person has an increased potential for developing osteoporosis.
  • Lifestyle and food choices – Lifestyle can affect bone mass. Bad habits such as smoking, an immoderate intake of caffeine or alcohol, and too little exercise can also affect bone strength.
  • Medical conditions – Some medical conditions contribute to bone loss, including Cushing’s syndrome, hyperthyroidism, and hyperparathyroidism.

Foods for osteoporosis

woman receiving treatment for osteoporosis
Eating right plays a big part in avoiding bone loss. If certain important minerals and vitamins are missing from your diet, that could result in osteoporosis. Important nutrients that keep bones strong and healthy include calcium, magnesium, zinc and copper, manganese, and vitamins D, C, and K.

Below you’ll find a breakdown of nutrients that are essential to fighting osteoporosis and the foods that contain them. Adding these minerals to your diet will help to strengthen your bones.

  • Calcium is the body’s most plentiful mineral, with the greatest percentage of it it going to our bones. Ingesting enough calcium aids in reducing bone loss between 30% to 50%. Calcium-rich foods include: broccoli, kelp, kale, turnips, collard greens, sardines, almonds, soy beans, sesame seeds, chia seeds, beans, oranges, milk, Greek yogurt, cheese, Bok Choy, oatmeal, Cheerios, tofu, and eggs.
  • Magnesium helps increase bone density. Magnesium has been mostly removed from processed foods, so if you eat many processed foods you aren’t getting enough magnesium. Interestingly, since magnesium works with calcium, it’s necessary to eat an appropriate ratio of the two minerals. A 2:1 ratio of calcium-to-magnesium is a good approach. Magnesium-rich foods include: brown rice, corn, buckwheat, dark green vegetables, Dandelion greens, legumes, nuts (cashew, Brazil, almonds), rye, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ/bran, and whole grain cereals.
  • Zinc deficiency can cause bone loss, and copper is involved in the skeletal systems growth and development. These minerals need to be balanced in your diet. The recommendation is that 30mg of zinc should be balanced with 2mg of copper. Zinc-rich foods include: peanuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, oats, pumpkin seeds, rye, split peas, and oysters. Copper-rich foods include: crab, liver, buckwheat, peanut butter, mushrooms, split peas, seeds and nuts, and vegetable oils (olive and sunflower).
  •  Manganese benefits healthy bone structure, and one symptom of a deficiency is bone malformation. It’s found naturally in the body, and is concentrated in the liver, pancreas, kidneys, and bones. Manganese-rich foods include: almonds, bananas, beetroot, blackberries, brown rice, carrots, cloves, coconuts, cucumbers, figs, garlic, green beans, green vegetables, grapes, hazelnuts, kiwis, leeks, lettuce, molasses, mustard greens, nuts, oats, peppermint, pineapples, raspberries, rice, spinach, strawberries, tofu, tropical fruits, turmeric, watercress, and whole wheat. The five bolded foods are extra good because they maximize manganese absorption.
  • Vitamin D is required to draw calcium into the bones. The body synthesizes vitamin D from sunlight, but not everyone gets enough sunlight to generate the amount of vitamin D needed. Vitamin D deficiency can result in bone deformities. Vitamin D-rich foods include: tuna, mackerel, herring, catfish, salmon, mushrooms, some orange juices, milk, egg yolk, cod liver oil, pork, tofu, caviar, fortified cereals, beef liver, and ricotta cheese.
  • Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps increase bone density because it promotes higher calcium absorption. Vitamin C-rich foods include: oranges, limes, grapefruit, lemons, papaya, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cantaloupe, kiwis, strawberries, pineapple, red chili peppers, Guavas, red cabbage, raspberries, apples, pears, chard, leafy greens (turnips, collard, mustard, and beet), tomatoes, spinach, asparagus, green beans, peas, watermelon, summer squash, sweet potato, carrots, and more.
  • Vitamin K binds calcium and other minerals to bones, promoting bone strength. A daily dosage of 150 mcg is recommended; too high a dose can result in sweating. Also, avoid vitamin K if you take warfarin as a blood thinner. Vitamin K-rich foods include: eggs, kale, chick peas, broccoli, seeds, Brussels sprouts, dairy products, cauliflower, and vegetable oils (canola and olive).

Supplements for osteoporosis

How important are supplements for folks who don’t like many of the nutrient-rich foods identified, or—even for those who do like them—don’t always have enough time to eat a good meal? High-risk groups, including the elderly, should definitely take supplements to be certain they’re getting the needed nutrients for healthy bones. Anyone else, who knows they’re not sticking to a good diet, should consider supplements to take up the nutritional slack. You can add extra minerals to your diet with this supplement, or pick up the necessary nutrients in one fell swoop with a good multivitamin .

At our Garland Chiropractic Clinic, we have the expertise and desire to help our patients, old and new, achieve optimal fitness. And, because we’re a chiropractic clinic, we have an investment in—and a special fondness for—bone and skeletal health. Allow us to aid you in achieving that skeletal health by creating a regimen of nutrition and exercise that will enable you to develop and maintain strong bones free of osteoporosis. You can contact us at (972) 840-2520.

5 Simple Exercises to Strengthen Your Core Muscles

What is your ‘core’ and why is it important?

There’s no specific definition of what the body’s ‘core’ is, but it’s usually a reference to the abdominal muscles. Fitness trainers place a major emphasis on exercises to strengthen your core.

women exercising
Your ‘core’ includes both the front and back muscles of the entire trunk and consists of the muscles running up your back and stretching down to your rear, as well as those located in the front and inside of your thighs.Those muscles are important because that’s where much of your body’s strength is focused. You use those muscles to lift something heavy, to kick a can down the street, or even to just stand up.

The most important role of ‘core’ muscles, however, is their support of the spine. After all, the spine isn’t a stable structure all on its own. Your ‘core’ muscles forms your posture.

Why do you need exercises to strengthen your core?

Since your ‘core’ muscles expedite movement and enfold not only your spine but your organs and nervous system, strengthening them is essential. Important reasons for firming up your ‘core’ include:

  • To protect your central nervous system, your internal organs, and your spine. You need a strong sheath around your systems to keep them where they’re supposed to be in order to function properly. ‘Core’ muscles help keep unwanted pressure off your spine so their condition directly affects your quality of life.
  • To help prevent injuries from movement. Your ‘core’ serves as a natural stabilizer for intricate movement. A strong ‘core’ means the deep muscles near your spine are built up to provide that stability. If your ‘core’ is fit, you’ll experience an overall fitness, making it less likely you’ll be injured by the movements your life requires.
  • To help avoid back pain. Because there are so many muscles to contract and relax when you stand up and move, back pain is relatively common. If your tendons and ligaments and muscles are healthy, your back will normally be fine. But weak muscles, poor posture or excess weight can cause a strain that becomes back pain. Even if your back is strong, if your abdominal muscles are weak you can still get back pain. Your ‘core’ strength needs to be balanced.
  • To develop a confident posture. A strong ‘core’ provides a good posture. A straight posture not only looks confident, but it also gives you a sense of control over your body and how you feel about yourself.

A few exercises to strengthen your core muscles

You can accomplish ‘core’ training without major workout equipment and it doesn’t require a great commitment of time. A lot can be achieved in just 10 minutes a day, going for quality rather than quantity.

exercises to strengthen your core
Remember, there’s already an inherent strength in your ‘core’ muscles. After all, they attach to prime places in your body because they’re designed to support your ‘core’! They’re close to your joints, and are such a refined leverage system that if they’re properly used, there’s little effort needed to get a bunch of work done.
Some good exercises to start with:

1. Your deepest abdominal muscles are the Transverse Abdominis (TA).
Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Put one hand on your stomach and slide the other hand beneath your lumbar spine. Allow that natural curve to remain; don’t flatten your spine to the floor! Breathe deeply and let your stomach rise while your diaphragm pulls in oxygen. Exhaling, don’t let the pressure change on the hand under your back. Work your TA without letting your spine flatten.

Now use your TA to stabilize your body. Get on your hands and knees with your arms straight down below your shoulders and your thighs straight down below your hips. Extend one leg back and don’t rotate the leg. In fact, you shouldn’t feel any hip rotation. Center your attention on the inside of the leg; you’ll feel energy flowing along it. Once you feel stable, extend the opposite arm while keeping your spine straight. Stay in that position and take some deep breaths. Repeat on other side and do five repetitions on each side.

2. Two small but basic pieces of exercise equipment to help you build stability are stability balls and balance discs.

They generate unstable environments that your body has to work around in order to gain balance and orientation. The muscles have to keep shifting and reorienting around the ‘core’, forcing the TA and the rest of the deep trunk muscles to keep you oriented. Within just two weeks, a few minutes a day using the ball or disc will really improve your balance!

3. Strengthening your ‘core’ connections is important.
Lie on your back with legs open and arms extending out to the side. Don’t let your shoulders hunch up. Breathe deeply. Exhale then close your limbs (head, tailbone, legs, and arms) into your ‘core’ all at once to bring you into a fetal position on one side. Breathe deeply again, exhale and open your limbs back up into the position you started from. This exercise helps you feel how your body connects to your ‘core’, and it allows the ‘core’ to actually initiate the movement.

4. Stretching into your balance.
Sit on the floor with your legs stretched straight in front of you, place your feet in a “V” shaped position and point your toes. Tighten your ‘core’ muscles. Maintaining your leg and body position, lift your arms up and use them to climb an invisible rope. Twist your body a little each time you reach up. Reach as high as you can, drawing your arm completely down to your body each time you ‘pull’ yourself up. Complete 20 reaches for each arm.

5. A side crunch worth the effort.
Do a ‘side balance crunch’, starting with your left knee and hand on the floor while your right leg is up and extended straight out in line with your body and your right arm is extended straight up. It’s a great balancing act! Now pull your right knee in toward your body and when it’s bent, bring your right elbow down toward your bent knee. Straighten them again. Do 10 of those and switch to the other side.

Building health from the inside out includes taking care of the muscles that support your bones and joints and organs. You’ll not only move with confidence, when you feel fit you’ll exude confidence!

If you’d like personal assistance with exercises to strengthen your core muscles, we can help. Our team of exercise physiologists can develop a personalized training program for you. Not only will they you target your core muscles, but they will help you strengthen any other muscles or problem areas.

For more information, contact Texas Spine & Wellness in Garland, TX at (972) 840-2520. We have the staff and resources to help you accomplish your goals.

Summertime – Celebrate the Sunshine with a Healthy Backyard BBQ

Summertime is a time for friends and families to get together to celebrate friendship and the great outdoors. Whether enjoying a weekend camping or a backyard barbecue, food is usually the focus of the day. And it’s often a time when we feel justified in stuffing ourselves with our favorite great-tasting treats.

Why shouldn’t we watch the kids swim while chomping on a juicy hamburger piled with cheese, or deep-fried chicken wrapped in a thick, crispy batter?

Hot dogs buried in chili? Corn-on-the-cob bathed in butter and salt? Chips and dips? French fries? Potato salad?

In the moment, this delectable food feels (and tastes) like a dream come true. But by the next morning we may regret our impulsive choices. A day of indulgence has consequences, more so if you have health issues.

What’s so bad about those nutrient-sinful foods?

  • Too much sodium in commercially prepared hot dogs can add to high blood pressure concerns and heart disease.
  • Hamburger meat? Surprisingly, there are about 16 grams of fat and 230 calories in the average ground beef patty. By topping it with high-calorie cheese, fried onions, sugary ketchup or fatty mayonnaise we add more calories to the total. And a typical Texas-sized hamburger patty is often large enough to feed two people!
  • Pasta, macaroni, and potato salads are laden with fats and simple carbohydrates
  • Hamburger and hot-dog buns are usually made from white bread, are highly processed and a generally stripped of nutrient value.

Healthy food choices that still leave you satisfied

It is possible to enjoy a backyard barbecue while still eating healthy flavorful foods.

To keep your carbohydrate consumption in a healthy range, select foods suggested in the Primal diet and/or the Mediterranean diet.

The Primal diet emphasizes eating foods that are as close to their natural state as you can find them. Specifically, foods that were eaten before the Industrial Revolution. That means omitting grains, beans, lentils, soy and peanuts, alcohol, sugar, processed foods, and refined vegetable oils in your diet.

So, what’s left? Many healthy food choices—every kind of fruit and vegetable, meats, fish, eggs, nuts (other than peanuts), seeds, healthy fats, and dairy products, both raw and fermented, including raw cheese. Sweeteners should be natural, such as raw honey and pure maple syrup.

Sound too strict? Then consider the Mediterranean way of eating.

The Mediterranean diet isn’t based on a single diet plan, but it does focus on some of the same foods as the Primal diet, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish and meat. However, the Mediterranean diet is strong on some items not included in the Primal diet, meaning that whole-grain breads, beans, and dairy are important foods on the menu. In addition, olive oil, olives, yogurt and eggs in small portions, wine and potatoes are all considered essential. And they all sound pretty tasty.

To boost the nutritional content of your barbecue, be creative!

grilled vegetables
Instead of a hot dog in your whole-grain bun, try a marinated chicken tender, or chicken sausage. Grilled shrimp is another tasty option. If only a hot dog will do, replace ketchup and cheese with onions and chopped veggies like avocado, jalapeños, or cabbage. Here are a few more ideas:

  • For hamburgers, eat moderate portion sizes. For a Primal hamburger, opt for ground beef from grass-fed, free-range cattle, if possible. To add a flavor of the Mediterranean, season your ground lamb or beef with oregano, fresh rosemary, a generous amount of feta cheese, and a splash of lemon zest. Spread a thick kalamata olive paste on the buns for a flavorful change of pace. Ditch the grains although by using topping your burger with tomato halves, large Portobello mushroom caps, or by wrapping the fixings inside a swath of lettuce! Add a small amount of raw cheese, avocados, onions, mushrooms, and olive oil or vinaigrette.
  • When barbecuing don’t use a sauce with high fructose corn syrup, sugar or ingredients like caramel color, food starch or preservatives. Google recipes for sauces using Worcestershire, tomato paste, tamarin sauce or even molasses. Or—check out a nice Primal barbecue sauce.
  • Stick to salads made of fruits and vegetables, like carrots with radishes or raisins, or avocados with grapefruit or bacon. Stuff a bell pepper with onions, tomatoes, pickle bits, celery and crunchy bacon and bind them with a homemade mayo. Try some delicious recipes like Kale Chopped Salad with Maple-Almond Vinaigrette, California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette, or very healthy Almond Salmon Salad with Honey-Apple Cider Vinaigrette. A Mediterranean Grain Salad would be great! Or any other Mediterranean salad creation!
  • Grill corn and dab with chipotle butter to make your metabolism smile. For additional flavor, add lime. With that much flavor you might be able to skip the salt. As for the potato, trying baking it. You can up your daily vegetable intake by topping your potato with asparagus, broccoli, sprinkles of meat, and good fresh herbs.
  • Eat 100% whole grain bread in moderation. Dip it in herb flavored olive oil for a snack, or top with a Mediterranean spread.
  • Skip the chips. Crunchy vegetables pair nicely with dips made out of onions or clams, spinach or artichokes, or even beans or salsa.
  • Fruit is always an excellent dessert. Trying skewering cubes of mixed fruit on bamboo skewer for a more dramatic flair.. However if you want a slight taste of sinful, there are both primal desserts and Mediterranean desserts to satisfy your sweet-tooth without putting your body on a sugar overload.

Be happy, eat healthy and enjoy the summer… Autumn is just a couple of months away!

Dr. Mixon and his team of medical professionals is available to help you improve your health with a full complement of services. In addition to our lab-based nutrition programs, we offer ANS (Autonomic Nervous System) testing, to help you assess your current state of health, along with treatment for neck, back and joint pain.

Please contact us if you would like more information about our Garland, TX chiropractic clinic.