Our skeletal system has a big job and some of its major functions include giving our body its shape, supporting it and allowing us to move. It also protects our internal organs, stores mineral and is needed to form blood cells. That’s a pretty big job indeed!
I know I want to stay active and I am sure you do as well. Taking care of your skeletal system or structural system and maintaining joint mobility are two key things that are a must for making sure that can happen. We all want to minimize the injuries to our skeletal system that can occur through fractures, sprains and broken bones. We also want to avoid conditions that can affect our skeletal system including gout, arthritis, slipped or herniated discs, and osteoporosis to name a few.
Healthy Habits for your Skeletal System
Our skeletal system loves protein, minerals, healthy fats, water, and movement. You know I am all about creating healthy habits because what we eat and drink as well as our lifestyle has a huge impact on our overall health. Below is a list of things you can do to help keep your bones and skeletal system stay healthy.
Healthy Living Tips
Stay Hydrated – Water carries nutrients to our cells. If we are not hydrated we can’t feed our body, including our bones. Water also helps to keep our joints lubricated. The synovial fluid in our joints is mostly water. Make sure to drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces per day of water or herbal teas (unsweetened preferred).
Stay Moving – Strength training and weight bearing exercises like walking are good for your bones. Several studies have shown that these types of exercise can slow bone loss and may even promote stronger bones. So if you aren’t moving – get up and get moving.
Snack on Some Nuts – I like almonds, walnuts and brazil nuts. Nuts provide protein and are a source of healthy fat and make great snacks. Almonds contain vitamin e, manganese, magnesium, copper, b2, and phosphorous and are a great source of antioxidants. Walnuts contain calcium, magnesium, potassium, , Cashews and Brazil Nuts contain selenium. Remember are bones love calcium, magnesium and phosphorous.
Beans and Lentils – Help to reinforce the integrity of your bones while helping your bones absorb calcium. Lentils and beans are complex carbohydrates and offer soluble and insoluble fiber as well as being a good source of non animal protein. They are also a good source of potassium, copper, phosphorous, manganese and magnesium, iron, and some water soluble vitamins including folic acid, riboflavin and vitamin B6.
Dark Leafy Green Vegetables – Vegetables, especially green leafy ones are a great source of nutrients. They are rich in vitamins including Vitamin A, C, E, K, and many offer B Vitamins. They also offer antioxidants, and contain high levels of fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium. Our bones love minerals and Vitamin K helps to prevent osteoporosis.
Lean Protein – Our bones need protein because protein is their largest ingredient! Collagen, is the most abundant protein found throughout the body. Eating protein, whether animal or plant, has been shown to help reduce bone loss. Many of us as we age tend to eat less protein which affects your bones. Make sure you are eating protein at every meal, regardless of its source.
- Plant Protein sources include lean meats, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, cottage cheese, and yogurt.
- Animal Protein sources include beans and lentils, soy products, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
Healthy Fats – Eating foods high in omega 3 fats helps your body do many things including assisting your bones to absorb calcium and fighting inflammation. Foods high in healthy fats include mackerel, salmon, cod liver oil, flax seeds, and chia seeds. Many of these foods are also good sources of protein.
Whole Grains – Many people are avoiding grains, if you choose to eat them make sure you are eating whole grains like oats, wheat, rye, barley, quinoa, and brown rice. Whole grains contain fiber and many nutrients including B vitamins, as well as iron, magnesium and selenium.
Creating a healthy lifestyle is important for all of us. If you are interested in learning more about healthy living consider one of our online group wellness programs.
Supplements and Herbs for your Skeletal System
We have previously talked about Collagen as being the current go to supplement for healthy bones, joints and skin and it definitely helps maintain strong bones, healthy skin and nails and promote a youthful appearance. There are however some other key herbs you want to make sure you are getting enough of.
Calcium / Magnesium / Vitamin D – These three work so closely together and are needed to support the strength of your skeletal system. Many people even though they may be eating healthy still do not get enough calcium and magnesium from their diet. Research has also shown that many of us are deficient in Vitamin D. Without Vitamin D our body can not assimilate Calcium. Calcium and magnesium have a close relationship throughout our body similar to the relationship of day and night. Both minerals are needed and both are usually combined in a supplement. Some supplement use a 1 to 1 ratio while others use a 2 to 1 ratio of calcium to magnesium. I find for myself a 1 to 1 works well.
Glucosamine / Chondroitin and MSM – These three are often combined in a supplement to support the lubrication of joints, flexibility, and mobility. Some studies have shown that supplementing with glucosamine sulfate or hydrochloride may be effective for reducing pain and slowing the progression of osteoarthritis. Chondroitin sulfate has also been studied and some of its early results show somewhat of an anti-inflammatory effect reducing pain as well as possibly slowing cartilage breakdown. MSM is a great anti-inflammatory and offers antioxidant benefits.
Essential Fatty Acids – Getting enough Omega 3’s in your diet or through supplementation can help your body improve bone strength by helping your body boost the amount of calcium getting into your bones. Many people have shared that adding Omega 3’s to their diet or through supplementation has helped reduce joint pain.
Super Greens – Many of us aren’t thrilled about eating our greens. If you are one those people, you may want to add a green drink to your day. Greens are so full of nutrients including calcium and magnesium and offer the body so many nutritional benefits that are good for way more than your skeletal system.
Essential Oils for Supporting the Aches and Pains
Concerns with your skeletal system often relates to various muscular and joint aches and pains. To help you with that, you can add some key essential oils to a carrier oil like olive or coconut oil, or an unscented lotion and create your own rub to help relieve your sore muscles and joints. Below are my top 3 favorite essential oils for helping with this.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is wonderful for relaxation and can also offer analgesic, antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties to any blend to help with pain, inflammation, rheumatic problems and swelling.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a very warming oil making it a great analgesic and anti-inflammatory making it a great addition to a blend helping with osteoporosis, muscle spasms, pain and inflammation.
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) makes not only a great oil for respiratory issues it also helps rheumatic conditions, aches and pains.
There are many more essential oils, however, I love these three. When combining them just remember that oils are powerful and a little goes a long way, especially with Ginger. Your skin absorbs these creams and oils and passes them onto your bloodstream which is why they can be so effective. Also make sure to follow proper dilution guidelines and essential oil safety. You can try this combination: Add to 1 oz unscented lotion or 1 oz carrier oil – 2 drops of Ginger, 8 drops of Lavender, and 6 drops Eucalyptus.
I have to mention the SOQI Products when it comes to the skeletal system. So many have found the Chi Machine and FIR Pad beneficial. Many people have found relief for all sorts of skeletal concerns including lower back pain, sciatica, fibromyalgia, overall tight muscles and spasms.
The Chi Machine is amazing for keeping your muscles and spine moving freely. Its rhythmic figure 8 motion promotes not only movement and circulation. It allows your muscles and vertebrae in your spine to relax. When you add the gentle warmth of the Far Infrared FIR Pad you have a winning combination. Far Infrared Therapy radiates deep into your tissues promoting circulation and pain relief.
For more information you might also want to view our Sunshine Sharing Newsletter on Joint and Muscle Health.