Protein is essential, but we don’t need an overwhelming amount of it to stay healthy. In fact, there is a delicate balance of protein and calcium in our bodies. If our internal protein concentration is too high, our bodies will actually get calcium from our bones to balance and flush it out, a process called bone leaching. This is why in a standard western diet where high protein and dairy intake are advocated, osteoporosis continues to plague.
Getting the right balance of protein and calcium
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, animal protein-based diets have greater negative effects on skeletal health than do vegetable-based diets. This is because dietary animal protein induces a greater increase in urinary calcium excretion. The journal elaborates:
“Urinary calcium has been found to be increased with acid-forming foods, such as meat, fish, eggs, and cereal. […] Bone loss may be attributable, in part, to the mobilization of skeletal salts to balance the endogenous acid generated from [these] acid-forming foods. This relationship may explain the reported beneficial influence of fruit and vegetables, the major dietary source of potassium, on bone health.”
In this way, fresh fruits and vegetables promote healthier bones by helping our bodies prevent bone leaching and other skeletal conditions — intake gentle plant-based foods like whole grains, dark leafy veggies, beans, seeds, and nuts, to get the right balance of protein and calcium, and eat plenty of fruits to maintain and retain those nutrients for healthier, stronger bones.