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What Food Colors Mean To Your Bone Health

colors-osteoporosis

I’m quite sure that you’re familiar with the DEXA scan, a bone health test that measures the proportion of light rays that pass through bone and tissue, which translates into your Bone Mineral Density (BMD).

But perhaps you haven’t heard of a relatively new biophotonic scanner that measures levels of the carotenoid antioxidants in the body and converts their levels into a number called the Body Defense Index (BDI). Antioxidants are scavenger molecules that protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.

This sophisticated yet portable scanner is used by simply placing the palm of one hand on the device. It utilizes Raman spectroscopy, a technology named after its inventor and Nobel Prize winner, physicist C.V. Raman. In just over one minute, the machine offers a true glimpse at the antioxidant saturation in the body.

Why are Carotenoids Important to Your Bone Health?

Carotenoids are plant pigments that give the color red, orange and yellow to vegetables and fruits. They are also present in chlorophyll-rich dark green vegetables. And lycopene, an antioxidant that plays an important role in bone health, is a carotenoid as well.

In the Save Our Bones Program I write that:

“Lycopene stimulates osteoblasts, the bone-building cells.”

I also wrote more about lycopene in a blog post titled “How to Get Even More Bone-Building Benefits from Tomatoes.”

Unhealthy Diets Get a Resounding “F”

Just this week, the scanner was tested at a Whole Foods store near my home, and it made the local news. What caught my attention was that the anchorwoman got a very low score. It turns out that she loves diet soda and is quite stressed. She probably doesn’t know this, but I bet you her pH would be quite acid.

Then another woman, randomly chosen from the crowd, passed the test with flying colors. She later commented this:

“I like bok choy, kale and collard greens. I eat a lot of broccoli and beets and lentils. I don’t drink and I don’t smoke and I’m happy in my life.” 1

In other words, she’s loading up on lots of alkalizing goodies and has low stress levels. It would be safe to say that she has an alkaline pH.

The Circle of Health

What I find so interesting about this is that one good health action has more than one health benefit. That maintaining the proper pH balance to build and protect your bones also enhances crucial antioxidant levels.

Because in health, everything is interconnected, like a circle – the Circle of Health. And this, of course, also applies to your bone health.

A Color-Coded Carotenoid Guide

Here’s a list of the highest – and also delicious – sources of carotenoids, listed by color. So don’t forget to add them to your meals.

Binge on Orange:

  • Pumpkin
  • Carrots (cooked carrots have double the carotenoid content of raw carrots)
  • Sweet potato
  • Winter Squash
  • Cantaloupe

Get Mellow With Yellow:

  • Summer squash
  • Mangoes

It’s Easy Being Green:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Collards
  • Mustard greens
  • Turnip greens
  • Dandelion greens

Be Well “Red”

  • Tomato (paste, soup, juice, raw)
  • Tomatoes, (raw)
  • Watermelon

And remember, easy does it…

Till next time,

References

1 http://www.local10.com/news/29159633/detail.html

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34 comments. Leave Yours Now →

  1. Barbara September 12, 2012, 7:38 am

    I am considering taking BioSil. Supposedly it helps your body absorb calcium and other vitamins/minerals (is also good for your skin, hair and nails). One review of this has stated since using it her bone density score has improved. Would appreciate any comments.

  2. RBur April 13, 2012, 4:23 pm

    On your list of acidic v. alkalizing foods in the Save our Bones program manuel, winter squash (i.e. butternut squash)is listed as acidic. I’ve found some conflicting information, per your article above, and also in researching elsewhere. Can you advise whether winter squash is truly alkalizing?

  3. Selma Flood October 20, 2011, 5:35 pm

    Dear Vivian,
    A friend sent me your site. I have had two heart attacks,pernicious anaemia, hypothyroid,
    kidney infections.I have little energy,gas,
    bloating,frequent infections,now diagnosed with
    bronchietasis.I am fed up with feeling sick and
    not having a “normal” life.Doctors have me on
    Tenmorin 50mg,VasterilMR,Atacand 8mg,Crestor 10mg and Plavix.I am of the opinion they are killing me slowly!!!! Please help. I know you
    cannot diagnose, but please suggest.Ever grateful
    Selma

  4. Shula October 4, 2011, 8:57 am

    Many Thanks

    Shula

  5. Allison September 30, 2011, 10:33 pm

    I go to Weight Watchers…I love their program as I am eating many fruits and veggies which fits into your program, except for the milk. I have been using the Almond milk, however, my leader claims it is not counted as a milk. In the program you are supposed to have three milks a day. Is there something in milk that causes you to lose weight?? I also bought the Whey to Go shakes and I love greek yogurt. Am I missing something here? Please advise, Thank you, Allie

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA September 30, 2011, 11:26 pm

      It’s possible that milk could help you lose weight if it’s replacing junk drinks like soda that are loaded high fructose corn syrup, have caffeine, and create an addiction. Here’s my idea: drink goat milk, since it’s slightly less acid-forming and richer in minerals. And you can mix the Whey to Go goat milk. Or you might ask your leader if you could replace the milk with yogurt or kefir.

  6. grace courtright September 19, 2011, 10:20 am

    I am waiting for my book on saveing bones to arrive. what is your opinion of strontium citrate or chloride added for building bone density?

  7. Nu Ly September 19, 2011, 7:19 am

    Thank you for this food information.

    I eat tomatoes, bok choy everyday and add another color veggies as possible.

  8. Celeste September 17, 2011, 11:28 pm

    I realize that this is a question not a comment but I really need some input about this. I use the sweetner sucralose in all liquids that I drink. Is this bad for my bones????

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA September 18, 2011, 1:00 pm

      Celeste, sucralose, marketed as Splenda(R), is a highly acidifying chemical, which means that it forces the body to pull yet more calcium out of your bones, especially if your alkalizing reserves are depleted. Its chemical structure is very similar to the now banned pesticide DDT. Splenda (R) is mixed with glucose and corn-derived maltodextrin or dextrose. The two seemingly innocent bulking agents add to the already toxic load of sucralose because they are derived from genetically modified corn seeds.

      Research has shown that sucralose may shrink the thymus gland – an immune system regulator. Also, a Duke University study reveals that among other things, sucralose reduces levels of healthy intestinal bacteria.

  9. barbaras September 17, 2011, 3:02 pm

    Thank you for this needed information.
    I will remain alkaline. I don’t know how to handle my vitamin supplements that might be too acid.

    Can the readers support no more gmo’s, genetically modified organisms in our food, beverages & vitamins. I returned my liquid calicum supplement when I discovered it has fructose in it.

  10. Elaine Schaeffer September 17, 2011, 2:07 pm

    Thank you for the information. I like veggies and got to the point i do not care for meat of any kind. I have been trying the whey protein 52 g of protein. 2g sugar,97g calcium and the others abt the same. cholestrol 60 but drink it once a day. 1 scoop, 2oz of half and half, 1 cup of crushed ice, 4 oz of water then blend and hope if fills the protein need. thanks, Elaine

  11. Dr John Dzineku September 17, 2011, 1:06 pm

    l am so convinced that you are really expert in your area [bone care and maintenance]

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA September 18, 2011, 1:04 pm

      Thanks so much for your kind words, John!

  12. Pam September 17, 2011, 12:49 am

    Vivian,

    I’ve been reading that some women with bone issues wear weighted vests when they walk. What is your view on wearing a weighted vest.

    Thank you for all the great information.

    Pam

  13. Maurine Karadimos September 16, 2011, 11:13 pm

    I sent my first comments through without my email. I hope it has come thru to you. Let me know!

  14. Louisa September 16, 2011, 10:20 am

    Dear Vivian, What are you thoughts on taking Biologically Active Silicon choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid as a supplement for growing stronger bones? Thank you,Louisa

  15. F. Brandwein September 16, 2011, 2:03 am

    Dear Vivian,
    Thank you for the new information on the scan. I’ll have to ask at my Whole Foods store if it will be available there. We eat all the colors and eat a high alkaline diet. My digestive problems have cleared up and I feel like a new woman–at 85, mind you! Carrots are my candy…I had no idea that cooking them made them better for me and it is the only way we eat them often, almost daily. Thank you for all your hard work; you are deeply admired by all of us.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA September 18, 2011, 1:05 pm

      Fantastic!

  16. Thomas Mueller September 15, 2011, 11:28 pm

    Do cooked carrots actually have double the carotenoid content of raw carrots, or is it just more available because the cell walls have been broken down by cooking? In the latter case, one could get more nearly the full carotenoid value of raw carrots by pureeing with other fruits and vegetables, as might be done using a Vita-Mix.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA September 16, 2011, 1:15 am

      Thomas, several studies have shown that cooked carrots have and retain more antioxidant power than raw carrots. The heat of cooking causes beneficial chemical changes in compounds found in raw carrots.

  17. Delores Smith September 15, 2011, 9:00 pm

    Vivian,
    I have osteoporous diagnosed by Dex. Broke my wrist in April, followed by another fall on June 30,2011. Got results of my Dex today,
    9-15-11 (fractured my right pelvic bone). No surgerry needed for either, but had 3 casts on right arm, and am allowed to bear weight & use walker for the pelvic fracture. Doctor said it is not healing yet, and recommends a yearly shot. My family doctor recommends monthly medicaton. Is Boniva good? I am on Dilantin and Phenobartitol for epilepsy, but it is fully under control. A comparison of my Dex taken 3 years ago reports Osteoporous with little or no change. I don’t eat properly, but I am 78 years old and want to do the right treatment. Any recommendations?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA September 18, 2011, 1:07 pm

      Delores, please check out my free Natural Bone-Building Handbook to read about Boniva and lots more about drug-free solutions to osteoporosis. You can get it right at this website :)

      • Sarah December 24, 2012, 7:21 am

        That Christopher Reeve one ouch! I’m too young to get a lot of these other ones though.Reply by on August 13th, 2009 at Thursday, August 13, 2009 @ 9:48 am@Elizabeth Kaylene, I wasn’t alive when Mama Cass died, when the Big Bopper died, or when Hiroshima was boembd either!

  18. Feona September 15, 2011, 3:45 pm

    I love the colour coded carotenoid guide. I’m going to print it off and put it in my kitchen as a great reminder of what to eat. Thanks Vivian, for yet more good advice.

  19. nadine September 15, 2011, 12:41 pm

    IS IT POSSIBLE TO OVERDO EXERCISE WITH OSTEOPOROSIS>

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA September 15, 2011, 1:10 pm

      Hi Nadine – It’s certainly possible to overdo anything, including exercise. I suggest a moderate program of exercise, and always advise checking with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.

  20. Brenda Murray September 15, 2011, 12:01 pm

    Thank you very much Vivian, you always give us such good advice, and it is nice to know which fruit and vegetables do you most good

  21. Sylvia September 15, 2011, 9:43 am

    Hi Vivian,

    Thank you for all the good information you so willingly share with us.

    There is an error in this “food color” posting. The DEXA scans use low dose x-rays, not light rays, for bone density assessment.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA September 15, 2011, 12:50 pm

      Hi Sylvia – The beams that the scanner radiates are indeed X-rays, but the machine measures the light that passes through.

  22. Prakashnath September 15, 2011, 5:44 am

    Thanks for your valuable informaton and advices. I am suferring from chronic Dyspepsia and indigestion from time to time, but no permanent relief has been obtained so far by any medication or by any other way. Please let me know if you can suggest any medicine or any other way by whitch I can get permanent relief. I am very thin and underweight. Any raw vegetables produces Gas trouble in me. I get a little boring pain near naval region always and my appetite is very variable.
    Awaiating your helpful advice.
    Thank you for the trouble

    • Carole September 17, 2011, 12:20 pm

      Hello Prakashnath,

      Just a wee suggestion. Have you tried taking Organic plain yoghurt, or a quarter of a lemon squeezed into a glass of hot water with added honey if wanted, and if you can manage to eat some almonds (just a few) when the problem starts, you may find these tips useful. Taking medication for your stomach can make it worse by leaving it with not enough acids at all for your digestion.

  23. Natasha Dolan September 15, 2011, 4:22 am

    Thank you for the information. How can a person order the kind of
    test last mentioned at a doctor’ office? Thank you for your continuedgood hints.

    Natasha Dolan

    • Wendy Besonen September 18, 2011, 8:02 pm

      Can we get this test at a regular doctor’s visit

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