Eating for flexibility

All of us at one time or another have gazed in wonder at an infant or toddler as they bend and twist. Their joints, tendons and bones seem to be made of rubber enabling them to bend and stretch in ways that seem unimaginably difficult. They suck their toes, pull their feet behind their heads and sit in the lotus position with incredible ease. They are indeed the epitome of flexibility. But just as the young sapling eventually acquires a hard trunk, so does the human body with aging become increasingly fettered by the toughening of the connective tissues that surround the joints. This natural process of aging cannot be stopped but can be slowed. The newest research suggests that diet may play a role in keeping us flexible, young and supple into our later years.

The hardening of all connective tissues throughout the body is known as calcification, which is caused by the unnatural deposits of insoluble calcium salts in otherwise normally soft tissues. These calcifications can be felt as minute crystals or pebbles lodged in and around the neck, spine, feet, hands and sometimes in the skin. As these salts accumulate they harden and shorten the muscle body reducing our flexibility. The toxic wastes that are held within these calcifications are known to add to the symptoms of arthritis, atherosclerosis, cataracts, high cholesterol, kidney and gallstones and fibromyalgia.

Among the dietary factors believed to increase calcifications in the soft tissues are vitamin D2, the synthetic form of vitamin D, dairy products, a diet high in proteins, carbonated drinks, coffee and other highly processed foods. When these highly acid foods are consumed the body will call for alkaline salts, namely calcium to keep an appropriate pH balance. When balance is achieved the calcium salts fall out of solution and settle at the end of the stream namely our joints, muscles and connective tissue.

Balancing the diet with alkalizing foods, fruits and especially vegetables will help offset acidity and reduce rigidity and hardness in the soft tissues. Vegetable juices made fresh are particularly good to balance an over acid system. Try juicing carrots, celery, beet in much smaller portions, apple and parsley.

If you do not own a juicer try chopping one carrot, skin on with two stalks of celery and one potato peeled with one inch of the potato left with the skin. Bring to a boil in two cups of purified water until the vegetables are tender. Toss the vegetables, or use them in soups and drink the alkalizing broth, it’s very tasty.

Plenty of purified water is just as important in reducing body acidity. The more acid foods you consume the more water will be needed to wash out excessive salts and help prevent soft tissue calcifications.

Of course there are other factors that lead to inflexibility as we age including genetics, lack of exercise, work, stress, and injury. Some of these factors we have little or no control over but it is never too late to change eating patterns that can help you regain some of your youthful flexibility.

Till next time, Rebecca