I know that stress has been scientifically proven to damage bone, but I am also realistic. I recognize that there will never be a time in my life that is completely stress-free. That’s just life!
Here’s the good news. Scientific evidence clearly shows that nutrition is a powerful weapon against stress. It’s such a simple, effective, and tasty solution to this all-too-common problem! That alone helps me feel less stressed.
So today, I am going to share with you six delicious Foundation Foods and will show you how they effectively reduce stress.
Does Stress Really Harm Your Bones?
I want to be clear about the type of stress we’re talking about today, because many of you may be remembering that “stress” on bones – in the form of weight-bearing exercise – stimulates them to build. That kind of physical stress can be very healthy, and in fact is essential.
But the kind of stress we’re discussing is different. It’s a state of mind that is usually the result of certain situations in life. And it’s been scientifically proven that stress reduces bone density.
Stress stimulates the production of cortisol, a steroid hormone that boosts your brain and body into action. It’s the hormone you secrete in the “fight or flight” response, and it is intended for the short term only. When your system is constantly exposed to cortisol, such as occurs under chronic stress, it “has the same effect on the alkaline/acid balance as when you eat highly acidifying foods.” (Chapter 14, The Osteoporosis Reversal Program)
So in a very real way, stress ages your bones.
How To Reduce Cortisol Levels Through Nutrition
If you have the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, then you are aware of the extensive list of stress-reducing exercises and techniques. Those are excellent, especially when practiced in conjunction with stress-busting nutrition.
The following six foods are Foundation Foods in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, and they’ve been shown to improve mood by various mechanisms, including decreasing cortisol levels.
Whether dried or fresh, apricots deliver a hefty amount of beta-carotene, an antioxidant carotenoid that gives apricots their beautiful yellow-orange color. Beta-carotene has been linked to lower levels of depression (often a side effect of stress) and better mood. Scientists believe that depression is linked to cell damage from free radicals, and beta-carotene protects cells from oxidation.1
Apricots’ antioxidant content (they also contain lycopene) and their exceptional alkalizing properties make them a “Power Food” as described in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. They also contain bone-healthy Foundation Supplements like Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and copper.
2. Crunchy Alkalizing Vegetables
When I am particularly stressed, I sometimes find that my jaw, neck, and shoulder muscles get very tight. A bone-smart solution is to munch on crisp, crunchy vegetables that relieve stress mechanically, by reducing tension and stiffness in the jaw and neck.
Here are some crunchy veggies, all of which are Foundation Foods, to consider:
- Raw broccoli
- Raw cauliflower
Celery is also high in potassium, which helps lower blood pressure. High blood pressure goes hand-in-hand with stress.
Scrumptious and versatile mushrooms can lift your mood, and not just because they have so many fascinating shapes and varieties and are fun to cook with. Mushrooms contain selenium, a trace mineral that has been linked to improved mood.
“The metabolism of selenium by the brain differs from other organs in that at times of deficiency the brain retains selenium to a greater extent,”2 notes a review on selenium and mood published in Nutritional Neuroscience.
Mushrooms also contain trace minerals copper and zinc, which are moieties of the crucial antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Mushrooms also contain riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), and pantothenic acid (B5). These B-complex vitamins are essential for youthful bones.
Shiitake mushrooms offer quite a bit of magnesium, too, which is vital for youthful bones. Research has also linked magnesium intake to depression relief.3
Walnuts are both tasty, crunchy additions to alkalizing foods like plain yogurt or mixed fruit. And the evidence is clear that walnuts can improve your mood and relieve stress.
The secret to walnuts’ mood-lifting ability is their alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) content. ALA is an Omega-3 fatty acid that is also found in fish oil, and your body can synthesize ALA into the essential fatty acids DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid.)
According to a recent study, the action by which essential fatty acids improve depression is twofold. First, these fats help preserve and increase the brain’s structures and modulate signal transduction in the brain. Second, ALA decreases and prevents the inflammatory state associated with depression.4
Additionally, low levels of ALA are linked to lower dopamine levels. Dopamine is a “feel good” brain chemical that also keeps anger and aggression at bay.
These bone-healthy nuts also contain boron and copper.
While they are acidifying, you do not need to eat a lot of walnuts to reap the benefits. According to research, you only need about four walnuts a day to get a good amount of ALA.5
Because it’s a dairy product, this Foundation Food sometimes causes confusion.
Here’s the scoop on yogurt: it’s a fermented dairy product that contains healthful bacteria, rendering it alkalizing. The vast majority of dairy products (cheese, cow’s milk, butter, etc.) are not fermented, and are therefore acidifying.
In addition, sweetened, flavored yogurt is acidifying despite having active cultures. So when I talk about alkalizing yogurt, I am referring to the plain, unsweetened, organic variety made from cow’s or goat’s milk.
This is the perfect time of year to include yogurt in your diet. Not only does it help boost your mood (which might need a lift if you live in the Northern Hemisphere and the daylight is decreasing), but yogurt also helps prevent the flu.
The fermentation process infuses yogurt with beneficial bacteria, often called probiotics. A UCLA study linked gut probiotic levels with improved brain function.
It’s well known that stress can negatively affect your digestion. But what’s interesting is that the reverse is true: what’s going on in your gut can affect your mood. In the UCLA study, 36 women were divided into three groups: one group ate yogurt twice a day; the second group ate a yogurt-like dairy product without probiotics; and the third group ate neither. After four weeks, MRI scans (also taken before the study) showed a much calmer response to emotionally-stimulating pictures among the women who had eaten the yogurt.6
In addition, the women showed improved brain function overall in the probiotic group, especially in the areas of cognition. Ingesting the yogurt “affected activity of brain regions that control central processing of emotion and sensation,” the study concludes.6
Plain yogurt is also an excellent source of calcium.
6. Dark Chocolate
I saved the best one for last! Dark chocolate is in fact a Foundation Food, and it’s been associated with stress relief for some time. It turns out there’s some real evidence to support chocolate’s reputation as a mood-booster.
In a placebo-controlled trial, a group of men and women aged 40 to 65 drank a powdered chocolate drink each day for 30 days. The drink packets were unmarked, so the participants did not know if they were receiving the drink mix with 500mg, 250mg, or 0mg of cocoa polyphenols.
The researchers discovered that the group that drank the 500mg polyphenol mix were calmer and more content.7
The polyphenols in chocolate are also antioxidants that protect your bones from the oxidative effects of aging.
So Many Foods, So Many Possibilities
I love to consider all the possible food combinations and dishes that could come out of just this list of 6 foods. Here are some creative ideas to get you started:
- Top plain yogurt with a teaspoon or two of chopped walnuts and grated dark chocolate.
- Make a yogurt-based dip to eat with the crunchy, alkalizing veggies and raw mushrooms.
- Dip dried apricots into melted dark chocolate.
- Make yogurt “cream cheese” and stuff celery sticks with it; top with chopped walnuts and chopped dried apricots.
You can also use these foods in other dishes. It’s fun – and good for your bones – to experiment and get creative in the kitchen. And it can relieve stress, not only because it’s enjoyable but also because the components of the foods themselves can calm your brain (and build your bones).
Eating the right foods is not the only way to keep stress at bay.
Exercise Also Relieves Stress While Increasing Bone Density
When you exercise, it sets a cycle in motion that builds your bones and improves your mood via a feedback loop. Savers already know that weight-bearing exercise directly benefits your bones by stimulating them to build and strengthen. It also causes the release of hormones like endorphins, which make you feel happy and positive, and reduces cortisol. This positive hormonal response makes you want to exercise again, and the cycle starts over.
Many studies have shown that exercise improves mood, reduces stress, and relieves depression. When scientists analyzed various studies on this subject, they concluded that enhanced mood is definitely related to exercise.8
And of course, while you’re engaging in weight-bearing exercise, you’re also increasing your bone density and giving your bones what they need to be youthful and strong.
The Densercise™ Epidensity Training System is a powerful weapon against the winter “blues,” seasonal weight gain, and stress (which can get intense during the holiday season). And of course, with Densercise™ you’re simultaneously rejuvenating your bones and reaping all the health benefits of exercise.
Feeling Stressed? Take A Few Minutes To Watch This Relaxing And Lovely Video …
…that incorporates breathtaking autumn scenery with beautiful, calming music. This is the perfect way to relax and feel positive about all the bone-healthy, mood-boosting things you’re going to implement and enjoy!
Please click here to watch this inspirational and encouraging video:
Till next time,
1 “Beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin improve mood.” British Journal of Nutrition. August 2012. Web. https://www.nutritionexpress.com/article+index/health+concerns/brain+memory/showarticle.aspx?id=1816
2 Benton, David. “Selenium Intake, Mood and Other Aspects of Psychological Functioning.” Nutritional Neuroscience. 1 January 2002. Vol 5, issue 6, pages 363-374. Web. https://www.maneyonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1028415021000055925
3 Jacka, Felice N., et al. “Association Between Magnesium Intake and Depression and Anxiety in Community-Dwelling Adults: The Hordaland Health Study.” Aust NZ J Psychiatry.January 2009. Vol. 43 no. 1 pages 45-52. Web. https://anp.sagepub.com/content/43/1/45.short
4 Grosso, Giuseppe, et al. “Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Depression: Scientific Evidence and Biological Mechanisms.” Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. Vol. 2014, Article ID 313570, 16 pages. Web. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/omcl/2014/313570/
5 Marangoni F., Colombo C. et al. “Levels of the n-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid in addition to those of alpha linolenic acid are significantly raised in blood lipids by the intake of four walnuts a day in humans.” Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases. September 2006.
6 Tillisch, Kirsten, et al. “Consumption of Fermented Milk Product With probiotic Modulates Brain Activity.” Gastroenterology. June 2013. Vol. 144, iss. 7, pages 1394-1401. https://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/changing-gut-bacteria-through-245617
7 Pase, Matthew P., et al. “Cocoa polyphenols enhance positive mood states but not cognitive performace: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial.” J Psychopharmacol. May 2013. Vol. 27 no. 5 pages 451-458. Web. https://jop.sagepub.com/content/27/5/451.abstract
8 Arent, S., Landers, M., et al. “The Effects of Exercise on Mood in Older Adults: A Meta-Analytic Review.” The Journal of Aging and Physical Activity. 2000. Vol.8, , , , pp.407-430. ISSN:1063-8652. Pdf. https://ulib.derby.ac.uk/ecdu/CourseRes/dbs/currissu/Arent_S.pdf
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What a lovely video, thank you for sharing with your followers.
Thank you Vivian for all your wonderful advices and the very beautiful video , I listen to it after a ” not so good ” night and it totally changed my mood …listening to it made me feel close to God and totally peaceful .
Many thanks again for all your support.
Loved the video thanks
The video is so lovely, peaceful and calming. I have been suffering from scarred lungs, and the doctors have not been able to give an exact diagnosis. I have been on steroids for 8 months now, which has left me feeling weak and not my old self. The doctors are pressuring me to go on Alendronic Acid again (I took it for 9 years.) I have flatly refused to take it. Instead, I take 4000 i.u. Vit D3, Calcium with magnesium, Vit K2, Vit B12, Vits B, C, MSM, Chondroitin,Fish Oil, Bromelain etc. I have learned a lot from your program, and have shared it with many friends, in England, and India.
Thank you for the lovely video! After being diagnosed with osteoporosis about a year ago I wasn’t sure which way to turn – so much conflicting information! I even had my Fosomax prescription filled – and refilled – without ever swallowing a pill – I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I also have Chron’s disease and thyroid issues which complicates things. Your website has given me the most sensible and hopeful information – not to mention good exercises and wonderful recipes! – I have seen yet. Thanks for all the work you do!
Hi V, thanks for all the help you give all the time. Truly you are blessed while you continue to be a blessing to us, and to many. Thanks for sharing the video also; such a beautiful voice, and animals. I enjoyed it. Thanks again. In time, I will get items from you. God bless.
The video was beautiful, fall is my favorite time of the year.
Thank you Vivian, for the powerful inspirational video including, the foods to avoid stress and to strengthen our bones.
Blessings always from the “power of the Universal Spirit”, for your loving kindness to several around the Globe.
God Bless you! So peaceful and beatiful to watch, thank you.
In March of this year I had coronary bypass (triple arteries)
I ardently follow your exercises, especially those concerning
the rib case. Thank you again.
Fall is my favorite time of year and the video was beautiful. In AZ we get summer and winter and no fall. Thank you so much for the helpful advice and video.
Vivian, want to let you know that I really enjoy/appreciate the fine videos you leave ending your articles. This one of Fall in New England was spectacular. Thank you very much.
Those stuffed celery sticks sound absolutely wonderful. Thanks for this inspiring article. I’m going to be more informed now when I go shopping and pick up this great variety of ingredients.
I’ve been avoiding stress and joined the gym. It’s hard but I feel much better and stronger already.
The creation of GOD is Awesome!
This excellent and timely video ( music is beautiful) is
uplifting and encouraging, as well as a reminder for
myself to live and enjoy for a moment regardless of
my present circumstances. I believe that each day
is a day that GOD has given me and each moment of
that day is in HIS hands.
Vivian, thank you very much for always sharing and
kept us informed on different topics, especially
Re: nutrition, exercises, and etc..
Have a wonderful day and take care always. Marlene
The video is beautiful and relaxing. Here in Tennessee we are blessed with a beautiful fall. I love walking through the leaves, enjoying God’s creation. I like all of the foods that you have listed. I recently started mixing up my own dark chocolate syrup by thoroughly mixing with a spoon a small amount of dark chocolate cocoa powder with honey. I either stir it into plain organic yogurt (as an ice cream substitute sometimes with blueberries) or in unsweetened, vanilla almond milk. Thanks for your valuable information which I believe not only helps our bones but all of our health as well.
That’s way more clever than I was exeiptcng. Thanks!
Loved the slides, so beautiful, and has a calming affect… Thank for sharing
You’re very welcome, Marion!
I’ve shared that video and your website with friends….hope they find it as helpful as I have. Thanks!
loved the video about new England,and your advice.
I love walnuts, when you say 4 walnuts a day for the benefits are you talking about 4 halves, the way you usually buy them or 4 whole ones which would be 8 halves. Your video is definitely the way it is here in CT, beautiful colors! I used to live in Florida I so I know what you mean about no colors there but at least you don’t have snow!
I ordered a book and tried to access a download…all paid for. May I have the optional book order due to not being successful with downloading information. Please check you records on this. I can assure you I am the only Roxanne Cibuzar in your data base.
THANK YOU cellphone 218.821.4284
I really enjoyed the video. I grew up in Eastern Kansas and am back here again after being gone for 25 years. We definetly have a lot of leaves! I lived in Upstate New York though for 3 years and it was just like the video. It is breath taking and shows the beauty of God. I could sure use walking in those woods again as I have a VERY stressful job and financial situation so keeping the cortisol down is tough. I think I will go et a chocolate bar! 🙂
Beautiful! I, too, am living in a bleaker (western Kansas) area than where I grew up (northwest Missouri). I so miss the fall colors and leaves that you kick through as you walk.
Do you know who was singing on the video?
No fall colors in Florida either… The song is “When Fall Comes to New England” by folk singer Cheryl Wheeler.
This video is so beautiful and calming! Coming from the ‘Old World’, Europe, and living in the hot Queensland/Australian climate, this video reminds me of my childhood and part of my adult life in Germany – although I know it was made in the USA (similar).
I nearly cried when I watched it; it’s so emotional!
Many thanks, Vivian, for that! It evokes such great memories and makes me a little bit homesick.
Unfortunately I am unable to view your video. Can you send it to me again.
Also question for you about TrueOsteo supplements. If I take 4 a day as recommended, will I be getting too much strontium since you advise against taking it?