If you braved a long and cold winter this past year, I’m sure you’re looking forward to the warm sun-filled days of summer. Chances are that as you put away your winter clothes and get your bathing suits out, you’ll notice that it’s a good time to get in shape for the coming season.
So today I am going to share with you three easy things you can do to prep your body and your bones for summer so you’ll feel and look your best. Let’s get started!
#1 – Get Your Skin Ready
How many times has this happened to you? It’s the first warm and sunny day of summer, and you stay outside a little too long and get a sunburn. Ouch! While moderate sun exposure is good – even essential – for your bones, sunburns are never a good idea.
Believe it or not, proper nutrition can make a big difference. Eating the right foods can protect your skin against sunburn and nourish your bones. And one compound found in abundance in colorful vegetables can do that and more.
Beta-Carotene: the “Sunscreen” Nutrient
Beta-carotene is a carotenoid, an important antioxidant that gives foods like carrots and bell peppers their bright yellow and orange colors. It’s also present in many dark green vegetables.
While no nutrient can give you complete protection from burning, beta-carotene is a great way to get your skin ready for the amount of sun exposure that can benefit your bones.
What’s the Best Way to Get More Beta-Carotene?
A meta-analysis of multiple beta-carotene studies shows that “beta-carotene supplementation protects against sunburn…protection required a minimum of 10 weeks of supplementation with a mean increase of the protective effect of 0.5 standard deviations with every additional month of supplementation. Thus, dietary supplementation of humans with beta-carotene provides protection against sunburn in a time-dependent manner.”1
The key lies in taking supplements or eating foods rich in beta-carotene consistently for a period of 10 weeks, and avoiding synthetic beta-carotene. These are foods with high beta-carotene content:
- Carrots (naturally!)
- Sweet potatoes
- Mustard Greens
- Turnip Greens
- Collard Greens
- Butternut Squash
Five servings daily of these and other foods high in beta-carotene for 10 weeks can help get your skin ready to take on healthy summer sun exposure.
More than Just a Skin Protectant
Beta-carotene does more than just protect your skin – it beautifies it, too. In fact, research has shown that beta-carotene can actually give your skin the look of a “tan.” Lead researcher Dr. Ian Stephen, from the School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus says this:
“Most people think the best way to improve skin colour is to get a suntan, but our research shows that eating lots of fruit and vegetables is actually more effective.”2
So when you eat 5 servings daily of some of those healthful foods mentioned above, you’re not only helping your bones; you’re letting your beautiful diet show through your glowing skin!
#2 – Get Well Hydrated
The importance of drinking plenty of pure water cannot be overemphasized. I’ve written a great deal about the importance of water to your bone health. In fact, I devoted an entire week to this crucial subject! That’s because water is vital to the health of your bones and your whole body. How do you know if you’re getting enough?
Again with the Skin…
Your bones may be crying out for water, but the main indication may be on your skin. In fact, your skin is an excellent indicator of your state of hydration. This is because, when the body is deprived of water, it must ration it out among the body’s various systems.
The liver, kidneys, blood, brain, and digestive system take precedence – they get the available water first. Then what’s left (if any) goes to other body organs and systems, like the skin. If your body is rationing water, then, you’re going to start seeing it on the outside.
Medical professionals use this simple test to see if you’re dehydrated, and you can do it too: pinch up the skin on the back of your hand. Pull it upwards and then let it go. Does your skin snap back rapidly, or is it sluggish? Does it maintain the pinched shape? If the skin drops slowly or stays in the pinched-up shape, then you may be dehydrated.
So your skin, once again, is letting you know that something’s amiss in your body.
Your Bones Need Water
Drinking pure, distilled water helps create an alkaline environment in the body, and water is necessary to carry and deliver crucial nutrients, like calcium, to your bones. Water is involved in every cellular process, so it plays a vital role in bone remodeling.
#3 – Get Inspired to Look and Feel Your Best by Slimming Down
Wearing less clothing during the hot summer season is actually a good thing – it helps you achieve that healthy sun exposure mentioned above. After all, the more skin you expose to the sun, the better the benefits. But excess weight can make you uncomfortable about wearing more revealing clothing, thereby depriving you of that healthy sunlight.
But Won’t Excess Weight Help my Bones?
There’s a common misconception that excess weight will help build your bones. After all, isn’t it “weight-bearing exercise” that helps build bone? Yes, weight-bearing exercise is key to increasing bone density, but that weight needs to come from the action of gravity on your moving body, or from moderate exercise weights. If that weight comes from excess body fat, it actually harms your bones by increasing bone loss.
A study led by Harvard Medical School radiologist and assistant professor Dr. Miriam Bredella shows the connection between being overweight and having low bone density. Excess weight in the abdominal area – belly fat – is a particular culprit in stealing bone density. In the study, high levels of deep abdominal fat were directly correlated with lower bone mineral density. Interestingly, the subcutaneous fat – superficial fat or fat that’s just under your skin – was not shown to have the same negative effect on bone mineral density.3
Given that information about superficial fat, it’s important to remember that this isn’t about achieving a certain look. It’s not a competition. We are not all built the same, and how boring things would be if we all had the same body type and size! The key is to be the optimal weight for you.
I hope you’ll enjoy this summer as the very healthiest you!
1 Kopcke, W. and Krutmann, J. “Protection from sunburn with beta-Carotene—a meta-analysis.” Photochemistry and Photobiology. 2008 April. 84(2):284-8.
2 Ian D. Stephen, Vinet Coetzee, David I. Perrett. “Carotenoid and melanin pigment coloration affect perceived human health”☆☆☆. Evolution and Human Behavior, 2010; DOI: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2010.09.003
3 Bredella, Torriani, et al. “Musculoskeletal (Metabolic Conditions and Osteoporosis) Detrimental Effects of Visceral Obesity on Bone Health.” Radiological Society of North America. Presented on November 30th, 2010.
Comments on this article are closed.
I love pine nuts and pistachio nuts very much and I would like to know if those nuts are alkaline or accidic
Two years ago, my bone mineral density showed no improvement and I continued with Osteoporosis. I had taken Fosamax and meds like it for 10-12 years, so I was looking at NO PROGRESS. I decided, with my Family doctor’s permission and my Gynecologist’s permission, to stop taking Fosamax, mostly from what I had read in your writings. I took Os-Cal which is calcium and Vitamin D3. In April, when I had the DEXA, the report said that I still have Osteoporosis, but “the patient’s bone mineral density has significantly improved within the lumbar spine.” This past week, I have switched over to TrueOsteo and will see how it works for me. I will probably continue with TrueOsteo or with Os-Cal until my next bone density test in two years. The other part I want you to know is that I do not have such soreness and achiness that I had when taking Fosamax. It stopped almost immediately after stopping the medicine. Thanks for all your help. Sincerely, Nancy Jones
Nancy, I applaud you for taking such an important step! You said “no more Fosamax” and now look where you’re heading. 🙂 Keep up the great work!
Vivian, I had my bone density test just the other week…I was pleased with the results. My bone density improved with lots of exercise…I didn’t tell the doctor I had stopped taking the strontium and Fortical he had prescribed…It seemed like every time I those meds, I lost a tooth or had a cavity, so I just stopped taking it and felt better..He asked me what I did to improve my bone health and I just said, “I exercise every day that I can”. I do Dance 4 and a Strength and Stretch video…He was very pleased and told me to just keep doing what I have been doing and that I did not need meds.. My vertabrae in my back has improved since the last Dexa Scan..So I am exercising, enjoy the sun, drinking my water, but I really do need to work on my diet next.. So all the emails about nutrition and bone health are very welcomed by me…Thank you for all your help…Mary
Great job, Mary! Exercise and bone health go hand in hand, and you’re living proof of that. 🙂
Last year, during my routine visit to my dermatologist, she asked me if I ate lots of fruits and vegetables. I replied: “Yes, how did you know”? She replied: “Because your skin has an orange hue”. Guess that’s the beta carotene at work. I eat loads of fruits and veggies … thanks to Save our Bones Program. I don’t miss the foods I once ate nor do I have to worry about gaining weight.
That’s really interesting that your dermatologist noticed, Sue! It’s great that you’ve found so much fulfillment in eating fruits and veggies. Glad to hear it shows! 🙂
A great way to start the summer. thanks for all the Beta Carotene information.
You’re welcome, Shula. 🙂
Hi, I have understand that vitamins K is crucial in calcium absortion. I do not hear you say anything about magnesium either.
1. The food with the highest level of caroteinoids is Red Palm Fruit Oil.
Red Palm Fruit Oil has on average 13 to 15 times more carotenes than carrots and 40 to 50 times more than tomatoes.
2. Silibinin, found in milk thistle, protects against UV-induced skin cancer. It promotes apoptosis (cell death) in UVA-damaged cells, while repairing UVB damaged cells.
https://www.co lo rado cancerblo gs.o rg/silibinin-fo und-in-milk-thistle-pro tects-against-uv-induced-skin-cancer/
Interesting, Louis! Thank you for sharing your knowledge with the community. That’s what we’re all about. 🙂
Why don’t I see any discussions about the importance of the magnesium to calcium ratio?
I just read that the calcium in True Osteo Bone support (algae cal ) is calcium carbonate.
Thinking of switching to another calcium supplement.
Oh, nuts. I just watched the “free” video. Just a sales pitch for what was, at least for me. the same old same old. OK, I’d like to lose some weight, but this is not going to help. I very much dislike watching videos, so where does that leave me? I already eat healthy…. In addition, the sound, at least for me, is very difficult to understand. Sigh; I guess that leaves me counting calories – and, yes, that does not work.
I just read your comment and hear the frustration. Can I recommend a book to you that talks about healthy eating and losing weight? It is called Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman M.D. It not only suggests what you should eat, but also why. Hope this will help you on your road to health.
Thanks for the suggestion; I’ll give it a try. I thought I’d already read just about every diet book, but I have an open mind.
I have the book by Dr. Joel Fuhrman called “Eat to Live”. It is an excellent book. Another great book is “Crazy Sexy Diet” by Kris Carr.
I’m not sure how the skin pinch applies to older people. I do not think I am dehydrated but my skin took awhile flattening out. My skin is thinning…..
You make a good point, Betty; our skin does lose some “bounce” as we get older! You could perform an experiment – try drinking lots of pure water and see if your skin elasticity changes! 🙂
Marcia, you’ve found the website – welcome! 🙂 If you would like everything compiled into an easy-to-read program, please check out the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. 🙂 You can find out more here:
And of course, feel free to e-mail our customer support for any questions you may have! (Just click on the smiley face at the top of the page.) Have a good weekend!
Keep your bones healthy with these foods.