I have always been in pretty good health, so I was surprised one day when my doctor told me my blood pressure was a bit high. She told me to begin watching my salt intake, start exercising, and to try to relax. Well, I intended to follow her advice when I left her office, but the next day I was back to my same habits. I kept using the salt shaker and didn't begin an exercise routine like I had planned. When I went for my next check-up, she told me that my blood pressure was even higher and approaching a dangerous level. I had to begin a blood pressure medication to manage it. I wanted to create a blog to share my story and remind people to listen to their doctors' advice. If a few lifestyle changes can improve your health, then you should make them.
Whether you are trying to protect your bones because of a family history of osteoporosis or you have already been diagnosed with the condition, taking steps in your life to reduce additional risks to your bones is the right thing to do. You're getting calcium, you're getting exercise, and those are all good. But there are a few other things you should do that may sound like they're unrelated, and they are simple but not what you'd expect.
Soak Those Beans
If you like to eat beans for their fiber and magnesium content -- both very necessary nutrients -- be sure you either use canned beans or beans that have been soaked for several hours. Lots of people like to find shortcuts for soaking beans that let them prepare the beans quickly. While these fast methods seem nice when you realize you forgot to start soaking the beans the day before you needed them, they can have an effect on your body.
Beans contain phytates, which are compounds that prevent the absorption of minerals by the body. For most people, this is not that much of a problem, but for certain groups, the reduction in minerals is not good. People trying to increase iron intake, for example, need to be careful, and if you're trying to get more calcium, you certainly want to watch the phytate intake, too.
Soaking for several hours (at least overnight) removes many of those phytates. Phytates are in many vegetables and non-meat foods, so you can't totally avoid them, even if soaking did remove all the phytates from beans. But by soaking the beans for a prolonged time, you reduce your exposure and make it easier for your body to absorb minerals like calcium. So avoid the fast-soak methods and go for traditional long-soaking preparation. Keep canned beans on hand for those times when you're really in a rush.
Get Some Sleep
Sleep is becoming the big key in staying healthy, with its effects on cognition and general body health. It turns out that sleep deprivation may also contribute to decreased bone density. So far this effect has been seen in studies on rats, but that does mean the potential exists for the same effect to occur in humans. So if you're missing a lot of sleep, start revamping your sleep schedule to get more.
Check Your Mattress
A comfortable mattress that you can sleep on is most important, but if you have osteoporosis, you should try to get the firmest mattress possible that is still comfortable. Firm mattresses provide support for your spine, while softer mattresses can make it harder to move around.
These steps are simple to implement, and while their effects might not seem very obvious at first, the effects can build over time. Talk to your doctor about improving your sleep and removing phytates from your diet.Share
4 December 2017