Nutrition for stronger bones and muscles
with advice from Alyssa Cellini
For most of us, it can be a struggle to make good decisions when choosing what to eat. If simply focusing on “good vs. bad” calories isn’t enough to motivate you, consider eating foods that will help strengthen your muscles and bones.
When choosing what to eat for strength, nutritionist Alyssa Cellini advises focusing on minerals and alkalinity. “Keep in mind,” she adds, “that this doesn’t mean that you simply eat a large quantity of mineral-heavy foods. It’s all about balance: consuming the right minerals, in combinations that assist each-other, while reducing the redirection of these minerals to contrast an acidic environment elsewhere in the body.”
What foods are rich in minerals? Here are some of Alyssa’s recommendations:
- It’s not everyone’s favorite choice, she notes, but it’s hard to find a food source that provides as much as the sardine. Sardines are rich in fatty acids (anti-inflammatory), minerals (calcium and magnesium), and vitamins A, D and K, and they also serve as a protein source.
- Leafy greens like kale, swiss chard and spinach are rich in magnesium.
- Oily fish like salmon (or a quality fish oil) are rich in vitamin D.
- Herbs (dried) like thyme, basil, and parsley are rich in vitamin K.
When preparing a meal, you could add dried herbs to your sardines and enjoy over a kale or spinach salad with fresh chard and watercress. You’re on your way to a mineral-packed meal! “To make sure you keep your GI tract alkaline, and to prevent the mineral-stealing effects of poor digestion,” Alyssa adds, “have warm lemon water after eating.”
Alyssa reminds readers that it is far easier to prevent conditions like low bone density and arthritis with diet and lifestyle than it is to correct them. “Our bodies are all about balance,” she says, “and whether you know it or not, minerals meant for bones are also used to buffer an acidic environment caused by food or drinks.”
While the dairy council might have us believe that milk builds a strong body, Alyssa points out that the high calcium content in milk and cheeses is often used by the body to buffer dairy’s acidity during digestion, so doesn’t necessarily build strong bones. In addition, milk can cause inflammation for many people, leading to constant nasal drip, mucus and allergy symptoms, as well as joint pain. If you’re looking to protect your muscles and bones, she says, focus on your proteins instead, from sources like chicken, eggs and wild fish.
Lastly, joint inflammation is exacerbated by foods that require multiple conversions to be broken down. “The more ingredients that need filtering out, the harder your body has to work,” explains Alyssa. This means that when you’re at the grocery store, stick with simple and start removing the processed foods from your cart, e.g., frozen dinners, artificial sweeteners, and fried anything.
For further reading, look through our selection of articles on nutrition, in addition to the below links: