Cori (00:00):
Hey guys, this is Cori from Redefining Strength. Welcome to the Fitness Hacks Podcast. This is the show where I share all my free workout and nutrition tips. I’m not going to ever fill this episode with sponsorships or ask you to buy anything. All I ask in return is if you’re enjoying the podcast to leave a review or leave a five star rating or even better share with somebody you think it might help. This will only take a few minutes and would mean the world to me and possibly change the life of someone. So let’s jump right in.

Cori (00:28):
Strong to the bone. We’re talking about bone health today and dialing in those micronutrients, and I am joined by the fabulous Brook to really dive into all the different benefits you can see from adjusting your nutrition in terms of your bone health because it becomes increasingly important, especially as we get older. So Brooke, thank you for joining me today. I’m going to let you take it away with why it is so important, first off that we even pay attention to our bone health.

Brooke (00:55):
Yeah, thanks so much for having me. Excited to dive into this. Strong to the bone is a topic that I’m super passionate about because I feel like it’s one of the things that we so often forget and when we’re focusing on building muscle and fat loss and weight loss, we’re so set on building that muscle and strength training and eating right to build that muscle, which is awesome. Don’t hear me say that’s not awesome because, but so often we forget that the bone health there is super key as well. If you checked out the handout that I posted on Monday, I often compare our bone health to a house because I think it’s such a good representation of how we should view our bone health. We have 206 bones in our body. We should be focused on keeping them healthy. And it’s just like a house, right?

When you go buy a house or you are building a house, you’re focused on that foundation up front. You’re not going to get a house that has a cracked foundation or a weak foundation, the whole point of the house, right? Everything is built around the foundation of a house. Our bones are the same way. Our bones are optic compared to the foundation of our body, and I feel like we forget that a lot and just don’t focus on key nutrients that we need for bone health and get so caught up on all these other things. So in conjunction with building muscle, it’s super important to also focus on that bone health and being proactive in this is going to be key, especially for women, especially as we do age over time.

Cori (02:29):
And I love that you bring up that this often isn’t the focus because I don’t think that’s a negative thing, but I think it’s something we have to note because when we do a lot of times look to make dietary changes or workout changes, it is for aesthetic purposes. We want to lose weight, we want to gain muscle. As much as people might blame us for being vain for that, it is the reality. And you know what, I like being a little bit of vain sometimes too, and taking an appreciation for how I look because I think it’s taking care of our body. But in seeking those aesthetic changes, you’re not always going to see the progress you want every single time and you’re going to have to keep doing the habits and finding ways to implement the habits. So celebrating the other good things those habits are doing for you is super important. So diving into the micronutrients that we need to improve our bone health, what’s the first one that we often hear about? It’s calcium. Can you talk a little bit about why calcium is so important and then even the other micros that we need?

Brooke (03:21):
Yeah, absolutely. So we like to look at bone health as kind of a trio in terms of looking at nutrients. So the big three in terms of the trio are going to be calcium, vitamin D, and then vitamin K, which we often don’t think about, but you’ve probably heard of calcium. It’s a very big one. It’s often something that we tell our kids, right? You constantly are telling your kids to drink their milk to help them build strong bones, but then as we get older and as we age, we forget that the recommendations are still the same for calcium and over the age of 50, they’re actually more that you need to get in that calcium. So I feel like that is something that we focus on potentially earlier on in life with kids and then we forget that it’s super important as we age.

So again, especially as women, when we get close to that perimenopausal, menopausal, even postmenopausal season of life or needs for calcium drastically increase. So if you are currently in menopause, your estrogen is slowly declining and if you’re postmenopausal, you’re kind of at bay, right? You don’t have much estrogen in your body, but we don’t often realize is that estrogen is a good protectant for our bones. So it really is helpful and it works in conjunction with calcium to protect our bones. So if your estrogen is drastically declining, your levels for bone loss are going to accelerate, which is what we don’t want, but aging is inevitable. So like I said, it’s going to be key if we’re proactive here at increasing those calcium needs due to that estrogen declining our bone health, our bone mineral density is going to decline as well, which can lead to osteoporosis at some point in life.

And we’re at risk for osteoporosis when we do go through menopause and hit that postmenopausal season of life. So calcium is really going to be key to get in and focus on a couple key food sources to help with that. If you do track your food, MyFitnessPal is a great pool because it actually shows your daily calcium that you’re getting in when you’re tracking your food. So things like milk and yogurt and almond milk. If you don’t do dairy, you can do soy milk, cheese, edamame, almonds. All of those sources are going to be really rich in calcium and super important that we get in.

Cori (05:46):
I think it’s important to note that you mentioned your need increases because a lot of times we write ourselves off as not being able to accomplish something because of aging, but in reality it’s often just that we need to assess what aging means to our nutrient usage and whether it’s a macronutrient like protein or it’s a micronutrient like calcium, a lot of times we can see the same stimulus for growth, for repair, for health if we just increase the dosage of what we’re taking. So it’s just making note that as your body changes with age, you can still achieve so much and see the same results. It just takes potentially doing more in specific areas or adding in more or addressing the change in your nutrient usage. So off of calcium, vitamin D and vitamin care are something you brought up and they’re very important to even better usage of calcium. Can you talk a little bit about those?

Brooke (06:39):
Yeah, no, I love what you said there because don’t think that you just have to start drinking all of these classes of milk or eating all these extra almonds per day, right? You probably are already getting in calcium. So assessing exactly what you’re eating and increasing that slightly if you’re not meeting those calcium needs could drastically help you increase to get and hit those calcium needs. Like I said with the trio, if we’re looking at calcium, the other two are going to be vitamin D, vitamin K. So vitamin D is really, really important because it really helps calcium be absorbed more efficiently in our body. So you don’t want to be eating all this calcium and not necessarily focused on vitamin D. So we definitely want to consume, like I said, these trio of calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K altogether, not necessarily focusing on one more than the other.

So vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin a very common one that we talk about, but not so much for bone health. So it’s really vital, like I said, to consume in amounts and get out in the sunshine so that calcium can be better absorbed without that sufficient vitamin D in our body, our bones can start to become thin and brittle and weak over time, which we obviously don’t want. And just like calcium, your vitamin D needs do increase over the age of 50 as well. So continuing to focus on that, really seeing what you’re doing now and then how you can increase that. It’s going to be helpful because as we do age and as we get over that age 50, our skin is not able to absorb that vitamin D as well as it used to. So really getting out in the sun, like I said, but also more so focusing on these food sources.

It’s going to be key since our skin isn’t converting as much of that sunlight to vitamin D as it might have prior. So food sources that we’re looking at for vitamin D are things like salmon and milk and tuna, egg yolks, mushrooms, cod, liver oil, even some random food sources. And you’ve probably started to pick up on the food sources are similar across the board, so egg yolks are also a little bit higher in vitamin K. So that kind knocks out the two birds with one stone there. Continuing to look at, yes, getting out in the sun, but also realizing that again over time your body does not absorb as much vitamin D that even more so focusing on these food sources because we really key for focusing on that bone health.

Cori (09:13):
It’s getting in that diversity of foods as well. You don’t have to feel like you’re just cramming down a ton of yogurt to get calcium. You don’t have to feel like you’re just stuffing yourself with salmon to get that vitamin D. You can use that diversity to really make sure that you’re getting even in other micronutrients that might be available in other foods to really keep yourself healthy. And then even assessing, am I getting enough calcium? Could it be the vitamin D, or am I getting enough vitamin D and could it be the calcium? You want to think about how you can efficiently get enough of everything over just focusing only on one micro because they really do work together. Now off of that, I think vitamin K is not talked about quite as often. Can you highlight why that’s so important in balance with calcium and vitamin D for a bone health?

Brooke (09:53):
Yeah, I love vitamin K. I find it super fasting like you said, because we don’t talk about it. It’s not a popular vitamin that people like to focus on, but vitamin K is really key for that bone matrix formation. So when we look at the kind of the composition of or 206 bones in our body, you often think of compact bone. There’s also spongy bone in there, but that bone matrix, which is what the vitamin K is going to help support are those protein fibers and things like collagen in there that’s really going to help support that overall structure of the bone. So when we start to consume more sources of vitamin K really is going to help, like I said, more of those fibers and collagen. You’ve probably heard of the collagen, that’s a big one, but it’s going to help go in and really support that. So vitamin K also helps just like vitamin D absorbs that calcium better in all of our bones. So again, we don’t just want to focus on calcium kind of focusing on all of these three in conjunction with each other. So when we’re looking at vitamin K, oh, go ahead.

Cori (10:59):
Oh, no, I was just going to ask you about food sources of that specifically because I think it’s something we haven’t focused on as much.

Brooke (11:06):
Yes, totally. So vitamin K, like I said with vitamin D, the egg yolks is a big one, but also when you think vitamin K think a lot of your green vegetables, so spinach and broccoli and cabbage and kale, all of those are really high in vitamin K as well.

Cori (11:23):
So you get your leafy greens, you have them with your salmon, you add in even maybe some mushrooms, and then you put some cheese on the top and you got this great salad with salmon dish and you hit all the things you need for your bone health. Right? There is the meal that you’re going to all be making. I’d actually love to hear what meals you do make out of these things. But with all this, it’s about getting that balance and it’s about even as you brought up at the beginning, tracking what you’re doing because I think so often we don’t know where we have those deficiencies or where we’re not getting enough and off of this as much as I believe supplements are supplemental. I do want to touch on this because I think so often it is a struggle to get in enough from our foods. If someone were looking to supplement, what would you sort of recommend they do?

Brooke (12:06):
Yeah, I love that. So I do think supplements are a touchy subject, but I often think that those supplements can come into play greatly here, especially I know we’ve said it a lot, but really getting through that menopausal season of life, ending up on that post-menopausal season of life, this bone health just becomes so much more, or it should become so much more of a talked about topic and really focus on for that preventative health, but also that longer life expectancy, you really do want those strong bones in every season of life. So when we’re looking at supplements, like I said with vitamin D, as you get over the age of 50, your skin doesn’t absorb and convert that vitamin D as much to what your body needs. So looking at potentially when you’re assessing your MyFitness pal, even looking at how much calcium you’re getting in, seeing if you’re even in the sun then, right?

A lot of us work indoors. A lot of us don’t even get out in the sun as much as we think that we do. So looking at supplements like a calcium supplement, a vitamin D, and then a vitamin K supplement as well can be super helpful if you feel like you don’t get those food sources in often and often meaning probably two to three times a week, or you find that you’re really not in the sun or you’re in a part of the country that isn’t super sunny all the time. So kind of assessing you personally where you live, your food sources that you’re getting in, and then looking at supplementing. I do professional opinion, but I always recommend during those winter months a vitamin D supplement. I think it’s helpful, and I think again, as we’re focusing on bone health in particular, combining all three of these together in terms of supplementation based off where you assess yourself can be super helpful.

Cori (13:56):
And even noting the goals you’re working towards when you’re tracking. Because if you are working towards weight loss, making sure you’re not in that extreme calorie deficit so that you can build a retainly muscle, which will only promote better bone health as well. But if you are in that slight calorie deficit, even if it’s not an extreme, you are in a deficit. So it’s very hard to get enough of anything, which is why you might want to be even more conscious of taking a look at supplementation during that. And when we’re talking about bone health too, we can’t ignore of course the importance of our nutrition, which we went over, but the importance of strength training and building that lean muscle and noting again that you need to make sure that you’re fueling to grow that lean muscle. You’re focusing your training on building that lean muscle because that helps promote optimal bone health and doing so proactively. I brought this up at the beginning. We go to making changes in our nutrition and our workouts because we want to see an aesthetic result, but to help ourselves stay more consistent with those things so we can see not only those results snowball, but also our improvements in our health. We need to celebrate all the ways that all these different healthy habits are paying off. Anything else, Brooke, in terms of focusing on our bone health, how that can even optimize our body recomposition? Any other tips, tricks, thoughts?

Brooke (15:07):
Yeah, I love what you brought up there actually about goals, because no matter what your goals are, if it is fat loss or weight loss or potentially just an aesthetic goal, all of those are fantastic goals, but bone health should be included in there. You don’t want to look a certain way, but then have weak and brittle bones. And as you age, those start to cause issues like as women age and as we get older, more prone to falling, more prone to fractures. If our bones are weak, I don’t know about anyone listening, but I want to be strength training at age 80 or 90. I want to be running around with grandkids. I want to go hiking with my husband at any season of life. So again, no matter what your goals are, I think looking at the overarching picture of I need strong bones to be able to do all of these things in life is really key here. And I think it even helps us focus on these food sources, supplementation, strength training a little bit more, that no matter what our short-term goal is, our long-term goal, that is also going to play a role in this as well, and that longer life expectancy, women actually live longer than men. So this is even more important for us to focus on as we go through all of these different seasons of life

Cori (16:27):
And we’re giving ourself more ways to measure success when we are thinking in terms of the other health benefits of things. Because now what you could do is say, Hey, my focus while I’m in this calorie deficit to even get more diversity food and hit my macros, is to focus on some of these bone health things. And if I can check these off every single day, I know I’m doing something towards my bone health, and I’m also going to probably be doing something because all these foods are super nutrient dense and have micronutrients that will only help our body function better to be able to lift more, gain more muscle, lose fat faster, help our metabolism be healthy, help our body function better so we can train intensely, right? We don’t have to be out with injury or aches and pains. So it’s thinking about how can you use things like this that focus on long-term health to keep you more consistent towards those aesthetic goals or performance goals or whatever else you set, and how you can give yourself more ways to measure success.

Cori (17:15):
Thanks for listening to the Fitness Hacks Podcast. Again, this is the place where I share all my free workout and nutrition tips. I’m never going to run sponsorships or ask you to buy anything. All I ask in return is if you’re enjoying the podcast to leave a rating, review or share it with someone you think it might help. This will only take a few minutes and it would mean the world to me and possibly change the life of someone.


*Please Note: this transcript is auto-generated and there may be some errors in the transcript