Many people, especially older people (approximately 50+ years) have a great susceptibility to broken bones due to a mild injury. The recovery of these bones may take a long time. These people may also suffer from stiff joints, joint pain, lack of energy and weakness in the arms and legs. Some of these people may have osteoporosis, arthritis or other bone problems which can be confirmed through medical examination.
1. The causes of weak bones
Weakness of the bones (Osteoporosis) is becoming more and more common. Chinese medicine considers that healthy joints and bone development are associated with kidney, liver and spleen function. As the kidneys dominate the bones, the liver dominates the tendons whilst the spleen is involved in the production of blood which strongly supports the bones and tendons. If these three organs are not functioning correctly it will affect the health of the bones and joints.
2. The symptoms of weak bones
As mentioned above, if someone has kidney, liver or spleen weakness it will affect the bone and joint health. But they may also have the following symptoms: lower back pain, lack of energy, lower libido, early onset of menopause, delayed or scant menstruation or pale complexion.
According to the traditional chinese diet therapy, if bones are to be strong, you should tonify the kidney and spleen first. If you want to have flexible joints, the liver should be balanced.
About seven years ago, I went to Taiwan, to visit one of my relatives. He was 87 years old but looks very healthy with strong, flexible and quick walking. He was still able to write books as his hobby. I asked him what was his secret. He responded saying he ate special foods for his general health, he showed me that he eats bone and soya bean soup everyday. He found this recipe from a traditional chinese diet therapy book which states that strengthening the kidneys, liver and is good for the health of the bones. He also mentioned that you can put any vegetables into the soup as well. Now seven years later, he is still doing the same things and is very healthy.
I suggest that if you have a bone weakness or other bone problems, whilst undergoing you other medical treatment you can eat a certain amount of bone soup to help you recover and prevent weak bones.
3. The benefits of bone soup
In this article, the first option is to use beef bones with a little bit of meat attached. If you are unable to eat beef, you can use lamb bone or pork bone instead. If you are vegetarian, there are other ways to strengthen your bones. Please check my other articles (E.G bean curd/tofu).
i) Helping to strengthen the bones and tendon
One ancient chinese traditional books called “Ming yi bie lu” states that beef tastes sweet. It has a neutral characteristic (neither hot nor cold). Beef bones strengthen the bones and nourishes the tendons. Chinese diet therapy culture believes that beef especially with the bones cooked for over 4-5 hrs can bring more nutrition from the bone to the soup. It is also beneficial in that the nutrition in the soup can be easily absorbed and digested. This soup is very suitable for growing children, pregnant and breast-feeding women, middle to old aged men and women and those who suffer from weak bone. I suggest that drinking a certain amount of have beef bone, soya bean soup. (Beef bone, soya bean soup recipe is below)
To avoid osteoporosis and weakness of the bones, I suggest that you should get at least 30 minutes of sunshine everyday. It is best to go out into the sun when it is not too strong.
ii) Beef can tonify Qi and blood
Beef can help to increase the blood and Qi as well as balance the spleen and stomach function. So it is suitable for the following people who may have the following symptoms: lack of energy, blood (including iron) deficiency, after long illness or operation, during or after pregnancy, after labour or breast-feeding.
i) Beef, soya bean soup
Beef bones (with a little bit of meat attached)
1 Handful of dry soya beans
2 Slices of ginger
1 Spring onion chopped
Add suitable amount of water and bring bones to boil. After boiling clear the residue on top of the soup add the soya beans, ginger and spring onion and bring to boil once more and simmer for 4-5 hours. Once the soup is nearly cooked, you can any vegetables you like such as carrots and onion.
You can drink one bowl per day or every second day.
Effects: Tonifies kidney and liver, Qi and blood. Soothes and loosens the joints. It is especially suitable for the joint pain in the winter.
i) If you are unsure whether you should eat beef bone, soya bean soup please ask your experienced TCM practitioner.