Food For Healthy Bones

Irma Jennings - INHC - Holistic Bone Coach

Is Your Blood Sucking the Life Out of Your Bones?

June 5, 2013
Irma Jennings

I was recently intrigued by a report on PBS about how the rising acid levels in the oceans are eating away at the coral reefs.  Those mineral-rich “bones” of the sea suffer from their own version of “osteoporosis.”

And it’s not just the coral.  Marine animals like scallops, oysters, and clams that rely on calcium to build their shells are having a harder time as carbon dioxide raises the acid levels of their environment.  Shells are becoming thinner, and shell growth is slowing down.

Not Irma

Just as shellfish and the coral reefs are the foundation of marine ecosystems, your skeleton is the foundation of your body.  And like the coral reefs and shellfish, your skeleton can get eaten away when its environment becomes too acidic.

That’s why it’s so important to keep a healthy balance of acid and alkaline foods in your diet.

What is The Acid/Alkaline Balance?

Our blood maintains a pH balance in a very narrow range and the food we eat can disrupt that balance.  That’s because some foods form acid byproducts when we digest them while others form alkaline byproducts.

Acid-forming foods include most processed foods, sugar, coffee, alcohol and grains.  Most high-protein foods, such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, most beans and peas are also acid-forming. Alkaline-forming foods mostly include fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

When the balance shifts even a little to the acid side of the pH spectrum, your body doesn’t wait for you to wake up and change your diet.  It has its own coping mechanism.

What Does the Acid/Alkaline Balance Have to Do With Your Bones?

When your blood is too acidic it looks around for something alkalizing to balance itself.  Your skeleton comes to the rescue.  You see, your bones are the storage tank for calcium compounds that help reduce the acid levels of the blood.

When your pH is too acidic, your blood sucks alkalizing minerals like calcium out of your bones.

That’s why it’s so important to eat your fruits and veggies.  When you digest kale, your body produces alkaline byproducts.  But when you eat protein and grains, your body produces more acid.

We have an epidemic of osteoporosis because our diets have gotten out of whack.  The standard American diet is full of white flour, sugar, meat, dairy, and sodas.  At the same time our diets are very deficient in fresh fruits and vegetables.  That’s a recipe for turning up the acid content of our blood and turning down our alkaline levels.

Does this mean you should give up steak and oatmeal and stick to fruits and vegetables?  Absolutely not.  It’s all about balance.  We need protein to build the collagen matrix that makes our bones flexible.  Remember that adults need about 50 grams of protein a day, with women needing slightly less and men needing slightly more.

But it does mean we have to remember to include lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds with our meat, dairy and grains.

If you know you’ve been indulging in too many acidic foods, a good rule of thumb is to try to eat about 80% of your foods from the alkaline group and 20% from the high protein and acid group.  Once you’re more balanced, you can change that ratio to 65% alkaline and 35% acid.

3 Easy Ways to Boost Your Alkaline Levels

The very basic acid/alkaline balanced diet eliminates processed foods, caffeine, sugar and white flour.  At the same time it increases whole foods, particularly vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and beans.  It also reduces the amounts of meat, fish, eggs and dairy.

Here are three tips you can use to save your bones from swimming in an ocean of acid:


1.                  Add lemon or lime juice to your water. Although you might think that citrus fruit is acidic, lemons and limes are actually alkalizing in your body.  Squeezing some lemon or lime juice into your water will throughout the day will help balance your blood pH.



Photo contribution:

Photo contribution:

2.                  Eat more lentils.  Lentils are a great bone food.  They are high in protein but unlike animal meat and other legumes, they have an alkalizing effect on your body.  Try making it a point to eat them once a week.





Bone Broth ~ Anytime of the year!

Bone Broth ~ Anytime of the year!

3.                  Make a bone stock.  While an animal’s meat is acid-forming, a broth made from animal bones is very alkalizing.  That’s because slow cooking the bones draws out all of those alkalizing minerals into the broth.



Click here for my extraordinary Chicken Bone Stock recipe.***




Make it and your bones will thank you.

What's your favorite stock?   I’d love to hear from you!

***Enhanced recipe from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

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30 Essential Foods for Bone Health

From my bones to yours,
Irma Jennings, INHC
Your Holistic Bone Coach
[email protected]

30 Essential Foods for Bone Health
30 Essential Foods for Bone Health
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