In my part of the country, October means apple picking. I grew up with a variety of apple trees in my backyard. I couldn’t wait for the first frost, after which the Northern Spy apples got really crispy.
You may not realize that eating a fresh, crisp apple gives you a unique bone-building phytonutrient called phloridzin. This flavonoid antioxidant is only found in apples — especially in the peels — and can help improve bone density and reduce bone breakdown for women after menopause.
In addition to generous amounts of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, apples also contain boron, a trace mineral needed to help our bodies metabolize and use other nutrients.
Picking apples and the natural approach over bone drugs
When you compare not just apples — but also other natural methods for building bone — with bone drugs, you see some compelling reasons to pick nature!
1. You’ll build permanent bone with a natural approach, rather than temporarily creating bone mass from drug molecules (which is how bisphosphonate drugs function).
2. You can truly have an apple — or strawberries, watermelon or other alkaline-forming foods — a day for the rest of your life, while the recommended limit to taking bone drugs safely is five years.
3. You’ll be building a better body overall with natural steps like the alkaline diet, exercise and stress reduction — including strengthening muscles, keeping your blood pressure optimal, and protecting your heart health.
Of course, one specific difference to note between apples and bone drugs — one of my favorite recipes found below wouldn’t work with a bone drug!
Baked apples with tahini and cinnamon
4 apples, baking variety
½ cup apple cider or juice
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons maple syrup
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon chopped pecans or walnuts
Wash and core apples, taking care not to cut through to the bottom. Place them in a baking dish in 1/2-inch of water. Mix the remainder of the ingredients together and spoon into the cavities of the apples.
Cover and bake at 350°F for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake another 15 minutes. Serve just like this or cover with your favorite topping. Serves 4.
Puel, C., A. Quintin, J. Mathey, C. Obled, M. J. Davicco, P. Lebecque, S. Kati-Coulibaly, M. N. Horcajada, and V. Coxam. 2005. Prevention of bone loss by phloridzin, an apple polyphenol, in ovariectomized rats under inflammation conditions. Calcified Tissue International 77(5):311–318. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16307390 (abstract accessed 10.04.12).
Nielsen, F. H., C. D. Hunt, L. M. Mullen, and J. R. Hunt. 1987. Effect of dietary boron on mineral, estrogen, and testosterone metabolism in postmenopausal women. FASEB Journal 1(5):394–397. http://www.fasebj.org/cgi/reprint/1/5/394 (accessed 05.13.2008).
You can try Dr. Brown’s comprehensive supplements in her at-home bone health program, developed with Women to Women. Get her exclusive formulations along with her detailed lifestyle and diet guidance, plus telephone support whenever you need it. Learn more about the Personal Program for Better Bones.
We created the Better Bones blog as our forum to express opinions and educate the public about natural means of supporting and improving bone health and overall wellness. As part of this forum, we sometimes discuss medical issues and medications, and their effects on bone health in general. However, we cannot advise readers about specific medical issues in this forum. If you wish to obtain advice from Susan E. Brown, PhD, about your specific bone health and nutritional concerns, please visit our Consultations page. Other specific medical questions should be referred to your healthcare provider.