We know that the normal pH of our bodies is slightly alkaline. Now we can see its positive effects on bone health, according to a new study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. "A diet that is high in protein and cereal grains is metabolized in a way that produces residue with an acidic pH. This may increase calcium excretion and weaken bones," says lead author Bess Dawson-Hughes, M.D., of Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. "It impairs the activity of cells that help form new bone and promotes bone breakdown."

This doesn’t mean you should swear off protein (which is important for bone and muscle), but it does mean that increasing the alkali content of your diet by eating lots of fruits and vegetables can help strengthen bones and prevent fractures. When fruits and vegetables are metabolized, they boost the body’s supply of bicarbonate, an alkaline compound. Bicarbonate reduces movement of calcium from bone into the bloodstream, a process that can lead to fractures. Ten servings of fruits and vegetables a day can balance out the typical American diet, says Dr. Dawson-Hughes. But, she adds, “any small step in that direction is beneficial.”

Wondering where to begin? A serving of fruits or vegetables equals six ounces of 100 percent fruit juice; a quarter of a cup of dried fruit; one cup of raw leafy vegetables such as lettuce; a half a cup of cooked vegetables such as broccoli, lentils, pinto beans, kidney beans or peas; or a half a cup of small-size or cut-up fruit. Enjoy a variety of these tasty foods, and you will reap the benefits.

For more information, please read Foods that Keep Bones Strong.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at HealthCommunities.com

Published: 23 Aug 2010

Last Modified: 05 Feb 2015