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:
- Carrots (cooked carrots have double the carotenoid content of raw carrots)
- Sweet potato
- Winter Squash
Get Mellow With Yellow:
- Summer squash
It’s Easy Being Green:
- Mustard greens
- Turnip greens
- Dandelion greens
Be Well “Red”
- Tomato (paste, soup, juice, raw)
- Tomatoes, (raw)
And remember, easy does it…
Till next time,
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