Helpful information from Dr Mercola on foods to support bone health:
In most people, sometime during yours 30s your bone mass will start to gradually decline.
For women, that bone loss speeds up significantly during the first 10 years after menopause, which is the period when osteoporosis often develops.
Scientists looking for natural compounds to counteract postmenopausal bone loss believe they may have found the answer in fennel, a much under-appreciated vegetable that is native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean area.
In a study published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine,1 it was found that eating the seeds of the plant had a beneficial effect on loss of bone mineral density, as well as bone mineral content.
Healthy bones maintain their strength through a continual process of bone breakdown and bone rebuilding. Osteoclasts are the cells that break down weakened bone, and osteoblasts are the cells that build it back up. The fennel appeared to work by reducing osteoclast differentiation and function, thereby slightly decreasing bone turnover markers and offering a protective effect on the bones.
Researchers indicated that fennel seeds show potential in preventing bone loss in postmenopausal osteoporosis. This vegetable, which has a celery-like base topped with feathery green leaves, has a long history of medicinal use, and has been valued since ancient times as a breath freshener, digestive aid, and for helping expel phlegm from the lungs.
It’s now known that the plant is a treasure trove of nutrients, including vitamin C, folate (the natural form of folic acid), calcium, magnesium, and more, as well as phytonutrients and antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation, boost immune function, and even help prevent cancer.
Fennel is just one example of a veggie that’s excellent for your bones. High vegetable intake has been associated with positive effects on bone mineral status for years. Eating high quality, organic, biodynamic, locally grown veggies will naturally increase your bone density and strength, and will decrease your risk of developing a fracture at virtually any age.
One reason why this is so important is because it supplies your body with nutrients that are essential for bone health, like vitamin K1 and potassium.
Your body needs potassium to maintain proper pH levels in your body fluids, and optimize your sodium to potassium ratio which also affects your bone mass. If you eat a diet loaded with processed foods, there’s a good chance your potassium to sodium ratio is far from optimal, which is typically done by consuming a diet of processed foods, which are notoriously low in potassium while high in sodium.
An imbalanced sodium to potassium ratio can contribute to a number of diseases, including osteoporosis. To ensure you get these two important nutrients in more appropriate ratios, simply ditch processed foods, which are very high in processed salt and low in potassium and other essential nutrients.
Also eat a diet of whole, unprocessed foods, ideally organically grown to ensure optimal nutrient content. This type of diet will naturally provide much larger amounts of potassium in relation to sodium, which is optimal for your bone health, and your overall health.
Read the whole article with references here
How can you use fennel seeds in your cooking? Use them to top home-made soda bread or oatcakes. You can also add 1/2 -1 teaspoonful when steaming, roasting or stir-frying vegetables such as cabbage, carrots and potatoes. Sprinkle a few seeds over finely shredded cabbage and onion, with olive oil and lemon juice for a winter salad.