I love shopping at my local farmers' market and marveling at the aisles full of colorful fruits and vegetables piled high on the makeshift shelves. Like many farmers' markets, mine carries fresh, in-season items, which not only taste delicious, but also tend to be less expensive because they’re locally grown.
The good news is that December brings us seasonal vegetables that are particularly good for your bones… let's explore three of these together right now…
Meet the Mushroom
Mushrooms grow low to the ground. Combined with their earthy color, these little veggies (more correctly, fungi) are easy to overlook both in their natural habitat and in the grocery store.
Mushrooms come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and they are all healthful, alkaline foods that nourish your bones and more. Mushrooms are so bone-healthy, in fact, that they are included among the Foundation Foods in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, where you’ll find an extensive list of Foundation Foods that are critical to your bone health. So there’s never any need to go hungry or eat a limited diet.
Mushrooms contain copper and zinc, two trace minerals that work together, and other important minerals like selenium and potassium. Also, mushrooms are one of the few food sources of vitamin D.
You may be wondering how best to prepare mushrooms. You can enjoy them sliced and eaten raw or sautéed and served over other dishes. But the the best way is to combine several Foundation Foods in one dish, so you can maximize your bone-building efforts.
For that reason, in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program I’ve included the Recipe Sampler where you’ll find delicious pH-balanced, bone-healthy recipes that include mushrooms along with other Foundation Foods. In the Sampler I also give you recipes to enjoy the next December vegetable.
Binge on Broccoli
Another Foundation Food in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, broccoli is not only nutritious, it’s detoxifying, and one of my absolute favorites.
Broccoli is an alkalizing vegetable that contains significant amounts of calcium – one cup has about 175 milligrams. It also contains the detoxifying chemical d-glucarate, which opens up your body’s natural detoxification process.
It’s a versatile vegetable that does beautifully in casseroles but also stands alone as a bone-healthy food in itself. It’s as tasty raw as it is cooked, and it blends well with other vegetables.
Both mushrooms and broccoli are used in my mouth-watering Broccoli and Mushroom Quiche recipe, found on page 15 of the Osteoporosis Reversal Program Recipe Sampler (which is included as a bonus with the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. Recipes like this and others in the Sampler are an excellent way to get a jump-start on building your bones, and the handy Supplemental Sheets –- yet another component of the Program -– help you with making a bone-healthy shopping list and more.
The recipes included in the Program’s Recipe Sampler include breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes, but they also act as springboards for your own healthful kitchen creations. In the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, you’ll learn about the attributes and nutritional profiles of many foods. As you try some of the recipes, you can then take that knowledge into the kitchen to create your own tasty meals. Variety is key, as is the ability to “customize” your bone-building diet.
There’s one more important vegetable to discuss in our list of 3 seasonal veggies for December, and it may be the most amazing, versatile, and flavorful of them all:
Use Garlic With Gusto
Garlic is actually an amazing food. It’s an alkalizing vegetable with bone-healthy nutrients, but it’s also a potent medicine. Garlic possesses astounding antibiotic, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties, largely due to a biologically active compound called allicin. Allicin is also largely responsible for garlic’s anti-inflammatory properties.
When garlic is growing in the soil, allicin acts as a self-defense mechanism, protecting the plant from harmful microbes like parasites, harmful fungi, and bacteria. Allicin also blocks certain types of enzymes, which “aid and abet” infection-causing organisms in their efforts to invade cells. These enzymes can be found in a big variety of infectious organisms – from fungi to bacteria to viruses – which accounts for garlic’s ability to stave off so many different illnesses.
And as usual, nature has things in balance – garlic also has pre-biotic properties, meaning it promotes the growth of healthful bacteria in the gut, further aiding the immune system and preventing a massive die-off of healthy intestinal flora (as often happens when we ingest synthetic antibiotics).
One more word about the wonders of allicin – garlic also appears to block the enzymes that play a role in making cholesterol. So garlic seems to be a heart-healthy food as well as a bone-healthy one!
Garlic’s bone-healthy properties include the above, of course, but also key nutrients. In the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, I write about Foundation Supplements in addition to Foundation Foods. The Foundation Supplements are essential nutrients that act as building blocks toward healthy, strong bones. Garlic contains several of these Foundation Supplements, such as:
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
Garlic also contains an important trace mineral that is essential for the proper functioning of vital organs like the kidneys, liver, and pancreas:
Although not a Foundation Supplement, selenium is vital to liver function because among other things, it promotes tissue elasticity (a rigid liver tissue can result from chronic liver disease), thus enhancing circulation to this crucial organ. Selenium also acts as an antioxidant, and it also boosts immunity by working with vitamin E to produce antibodies that fight disease.
Why all this concern over the liver?
Quite simply, your liver is the major detoxification organ in your body, and supporting detoxification is a key element in building healthy bones. This is particularly important if you have taken osteoporosis drugs in the past and want to cleanse these chemicals from your body.
Detoxification is so important to bone health, in fact, that I wrote an entire cleansing program named the Osteoporosis Fresh Start Cleanse. As you go through the detoxification process I outline in it, you’ll see that liver-protecting foods such as garlic are included in the 7-day cleanse.
Because of its content of selenium and allicin, garlic is definitely a liver-friendly vegetable that acts as a powerful medicine against viral, bacterial, and fungal infections.
And that’s not all garlic has to offer. It’s also anti-inflammatory, as I write in the Osteoporosis Fresh Start Cleanse. Controlling inflammation is part of the cleansing process, and puts you well on the path to a healthy lifestyle. Inflammation can negatively affect all kinds of body processes, from digestion to bone remodeling.
Isn’t it amazing that these seasonal, health-promoting powerhouses are sitting right there in your grocery store and farmer's market? Celebrate the holidays with some new and healthful dishes, and get a head start on your New Year’s bone health resolutions.
And I'd like to wish Happy Channukah to everyone in the Save Our Bones Community who’s celebrating the “Festival of Lights” this week. May your lives be lit with joy, health and happiness always!
Till next time,