What makes bones both strong and light
Osteoporosis: 9 nutrition tips for strong bones from TCM
You may have heard of yin and yang, on which traditional Chinese medicine is based an entire philosophy. The body and all menopausal symptoms can also be classified according to these two terms.
Yin and Yang - and what that has to do with your bones
The Yin refers to everything material in the body, i.e. the blood, the body fluids, the tissue, the muscles and the bones. Its job is to nourish us, to cool us, to ensure inner peace and good sleep. Through yin we can relax and just be in the moment.
The Yang stands for everything immaterial in the body, such as energy (Qi), inner warmth, joie de vivre, fertility and any movement in the body, from heartbeat to digestion to walking. Mental processes are also part of Yang. Through the Yang we can use the day actively and full of energy, it drives us. It warms us so that we don't freeze. In TCM we often find the term “fire” for the Yang.
Without yang, yin would be just inanimate substance, and without yin, yang would be free floating energy without a body. The two need each other and cannot be without each other. According to TCM, we humans are healthy when we have enough yin and enough yang and both are in balance are.
So if you Prevent osteoporosis or want to improve your bone values, you should primarily strengthen your yin. This is a good idea, especially during the menopause, as the risk of osteoporosis increases due to the hormone changes and more balance is good for the entire body in this phase. In addition, you will get the most important nutrition tips in this article.
Strong digestion is the basis for strong bones
In order to build substance in the body, we need a good one Digestive powerso that the body can convert the good nutrients in the first place. If you get gas or stomach twists after a meal, these are signs that the conversion is not working as well. Then the body needs all of its energy (his Qi, which is part of the Yang) for somehow processing the food at all. Our goal, however, is to absorb Qi through nutrition, to increase our energy and thus also the blood and Yin. Therefore, watch out for digestive problems and try to eat easily.
As mentioned above, digestion is part of the yang (fire) in the body, that is, it works with heat. This is why cooked meals are so important in the TCM diet, especially the cooked breakfast is highly recommended! You can imagine that your stomach has to turn everything you eat into boiling soup. And the steam that rises from the soup is the qi, the energy that we get from food. Only then can we digest them according to TCM and convert them into qi, blood and yin.
Make it easy for your digestion and eat more frequently cooked meals, but less raw and cold and less bread meals. These are considered difficult to digest. On my blog you will find many recipes to try out as well as tips for digestive problems such as constipation, gas, heartburn or diarrhea.
With good digestion, you can prevent osteoporosis and strengthen your bones!
The kidneys control the aging process
All yin and all yang has its roots in the Kidneys. According to TCM, these are responsible for reproduction as well as growth, spiritual development and the Aging process. This is how the ancient Chinese knew they should take care of their kidneys for a long and healthy life!
The three most important components for strong kidney strength and thus a healthy age are:
- Good and regular sleep, sleep before midnight is especially important. Try to go to bed at around the same time each day, preferably no later than 10:30 p.m.
- Valuable and for you easily digestible food, preferably with fresh vegetables every day. Eat regularly and be sure to pay attention to good quality when shopping. Eating too little weakens your kidneys just like overeating. Frequent diets are a known risk factor for later osteoporosis.
- Protect yourself from external and internal cold. The kidneys are very sensitive to cold. Pay special attention to warm feet and a warm lower back. More cooked food and less cold and raw food is good for your kidneys and strengthens yin and yang.
A Kidney Yin Deficiency Incidentally, it is not only responsible for osteoporosis, but also for hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disorders, and inner restlessness. To the Kidney Yang Deficiency In addition to internal cold, weakness in the bladder and pelvic floor as well as water retention, a lack of libido and depressive moods also count. So this is where most of the typical symptoms of menopause can be found.
9 nutrition tips for strong bones
- Eat more often grain rich in minerals like millet, quinoa, whole grain rice, oatmeal and amaranth. It strengthens your kidney yin and thus your bones.
- Lentils, beans and chickpeas also build up the yin. Please only eat them if you can digest them well. Tip: Start with a very small amount to help your digestion legumes to get used to, such as 1 tablespoon of lentils with soup or rice. Then increase the amount slowly if you can tolerate it well. Digestive spices such as cumin, cardamom, ground coriander can help.
- Use regularly Seeds and kernels, such as sunflower seeds, pine nuts, flax seeds or cashews. In TCM, black sesame is particularly recommended for strengthening the bones, briefly mortar it to make it more digestible.
- Cut down on coffee and black tea. Both have a strong drying effect due to the bitter taste and damage our blood, the good body juices and the yin in excess. Coffee is also heating, which increases the drying effect. This tip is particularly important for you if you suffer from dry mucous membranes, dry skin, inner restlessness and sleep problems or stomach problems.
- Season your food mildly and only take hot spices every now and then. Pepper, chilli, garlic and the like have a heating effect, as do cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Please also do not drink teas made from these spices. Heat has a drying effect like when you dry your hair with a hairdryer. In the long run, this damages your yin and thus your bones. This tip is particularly important for you if you have hot flashes and night sweats.
- Use black, (naturally) salty ingredients such as miso paste, soy sauce, and seaweed. These strengthen the kidney yin. The dark color and the salty taste are assigned to the kidneys in TCM. Make sure that these foods are organic, conventional soy sauce is a highly processed product and does not have any beneficial effects. Algae contain a lot of iodine and should not be eaten if the thyroid is overactive. Caution: Too many salty ingredients have a drying effect and can damage the yin, be moderate with the amount. Tip: Eat a miso soup once or twice a week, season with soy sauce every few days or cook a spoonful of seaweed in your soup every one to two weeks. As always in TCM, it is about the measure - more does not help anymore! More important is regularity and good digestibility.
- Avoid the calcium predators: Sugar, soft drinks, processed cheese, ready-made products, sausage, white flour, too much table salt, coffee is one of them (see 4.).
- Question the recommendation that cow's milk and cheese strengthen your bones. From the point of view of TCM, these have a strong moisturizing effect, are difficult to digest and provide us with little Qi. By the way, calcium in particular is contained in many foods, so that you do not have to rely on dairy products for it.
- These foods and teas are according to TCM especially good for kidney yin and thus for your bones (in addition to the first 3 tips above): blackberries, goji berries, bilberries (blueberries), raspberries, linseed oil, mulberries, olive oil, raisins, shiitake mushrooms, tofu, dark grapes; Field horsetail, hops, black cohosh
I am happy if this article helps you!
More Tips for proper diet during menopause You can find it in my book “Mit Yin & Yang im Wechsel” *, published by Kneipp-Verlag. You can find a few there too interesting interviews, including one with Gela Löhr, the founder of LEMONDAYS.
PS: You can find more about the view of TCM on menopause in our article "Menopause - the time of change from the point of view of TCM"
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