The health and strength of your bones relies on a balanced diet and steady stream of nutrients - and you'll be interested to know that calcium isn't the most important of them all to strengthen your bones and prevent fractures.
In fact, at the recent annual Pediatric Academic Societies meeting held in Washington, in the USA, a study was presented that surprised everyone. It uncovered that to ensure a lifetime of healthy bones and stave off conditions like osteoporosis, it's vital to make sure you get plenty one mineral: Magnesium.
Lead author of the study and professor of paediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston in the USA, Dr Steven A Abrams, explained: “Calcium is important, but, except for those children and adolescents with very low intakes, may not be more important than magnesium.”
Read on to learn more about why magnesium is more important than calcium when it comes to keeping your bones healthy and strong.
It’s actually been long known that magnesium is critical for bone health in adults
This study led by Dr Abrams only clarifies that it’s important for people of all ages to get enough magnesium, which is plentiful in many plant-based foods. For example: Nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains, and dark leafy greens.
If you’re following a vegan diet, your bones are probably “safe” as you consume these foods in abundance on the regular, but if you’re not, you might want to consider adding these foods to your diet immediately. In fact, you really should.
So why isn’t the magnesium bone health link better known by the public?
Truth be told, the dairy industry has spent lots of money trying to convince people that calcium – which isn’t coincidentally found in the products it’s peddling – is the key to preventing bone less.
But while people around the world consume tremendous amounts of milk, the osteoporosis rate is still at an all-time high. Here’s another interesting fact: The Chinese, who consume roughly half as much calcium as Americans do (mostly from non-dairy sources) have a far lower prevalence of this condition.
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Studies indicate that milk may actually increase your risk of osteoporosis
Frightening, I know. Harvard Medical School’s Nurses’ Health Study, which followed over 238,000 women, found that those who consumed two or more glasses of milk per day had a higher risk of breaking a hip or arm than those who consumed one glass or fewer per day.
What’s more, as the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine indicates, dairy foods “contribute significant amounts of cholesterol, and are the number one source of saturated fat
in the diet”. Diets high in fat
and saturated fat can also increase risk of heart disease
The bottom line: For bone health, calcium isn’t the whole story
The studies I’ve just mentioned speak for themselves. So what am I suggesting you do? For one, keep drinking milk, as calcium is still much needed for your body to function properly. However, it’s also important to incorporate more magnesium rich-foods into your diet.
I personally find that smoothies are the easiest way to ensure my body gets the amount of magnesium it needs. Toss magnesium-rich foods like kale, banana, chlorella powder and nuts into your blender, hit the “on” button and drink up! I suggest sipping a magnesium-rich smoothie at least twice a week to promote healthy bones.
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