It is well known that there are two key nutrients we need for strong and healthy bones: calcium and vitamin D. Calcium supports your bones, while vitamin D improves calcium absorption and bone growth. Similarly important, but less often discussed, is what we should not consume.
Certain foods take away from bone health. Since we can’t feel osteoporosis, it’s not that easy to imagine that something we eat can be harmful to the bones.
However, for stronger bones, we have to avoid some everyday osteoporosis diet dangers. Besides excluding the following foods and drinks from your diet, be sure to consume enough calcium and vitamin D-rich foods and supplement if necessary.
10. Foods with Oxalates
Spinach, beet greens, and Swiss chard are all super healthy, packed with healthy nutrients, but they just shouldn’t be counted as calcium sources. This is because they contain oxalates, which can bind up the calcium and make it unavailable to the body. To enjoy these leafy greens’ health benefits, a good idea is to consume them with foods that contain calcium readily absorbed by the body. Spinach with cheese is not only delicious but also good for your body.
9. Beans (Legumes)
While beans are one of the healthiest foods on the planet – packed with fiber, nutrients, magnesium, and calcium – they also have a high phytate content. This unique natural substance impairs iron, zinc, and calcium absorption and may promote mineral deficiencies. All edible seeds, grains, legumes, and nuts contain phytates in varying quantities. When you eat high-phytate foods with most of your meals, mineral deficiencies may develop over time, but this is rarely a concern in well-balanced diets. You can reduce the phytate level by soaking beans in water for several hours and then cooking them in freshwater.
8. Soy Products
Similar to spinach and Swiss chard, soy also contains oxalates. Oxalates are plant compounds that may hamper calcium absorption. While soy products – tofu, tempeh, edamame – are rich in protein that helps building bones, they can also bind up calcium and make it unavailable to the body.
7. Bleached Flour
Natural wheat is not white, but manufacturers use chemicals such as chlorine dioxide or benzoyl peroxide to bleach it. Besides this, white flour production involves stripping away the most nutritional aspects of the grain: the germ and the bran. So at the end of the process, the flour is devoid of fiber, and the milling process further removes the most nutritious parts of the wheat berry. Try to avoid white flour products and stick to whole wheat, sprouted bread, or millet bread instead.
Heavy alcohol consumption contributes to low bone mass, increased incidence of fractures, and delayed fracture healing as alcohol inhibits calcium absorption. For optimal bone health and osteoporosis prevention, consume alcohol in moderation.
5. Cured Meats
All meats are acidifying, so you should make sure to consume them in moderation and balance with alkalizing foods. Processed meats or cold cuts – including deli meats, bacon, hot dogs – are the most acidifying of all animal proteins. They are also packed with preservatives such as sodium nitrite. Nitrates are converted to nitrites during digestion then form nitrosamines. Nitrosamines are extremely acidifying and carcinogenic.
4. Processed Sugar
We all know that sugar has many bad effects on the body. Sugar depletes the bones of key nutrients, specifically calcium, magnesium, and copper. It is so acidifying that it causes the body to take calcium from the bones and excrete it through urine. Try to avoid sugary snacks and satisfy your sweet tooth with healthful alternatives that support bone health, such as prunes, cranberries, and other fruits rich in antioxidants.
Studies have shown that a high amount of caffeine intake might lead to lower bone density in women. The reason why excessive amounts of caffeine may have a negative impact on bone density is explained by the fact that caffeine increases the rate of calcium loss through the urine. And when caffeine is combined with sugar, it has particularly detrimental effects on bone health. To follow an osteoporosis-prevention diet, drink decaf coffees, and limit consumption of sugary foods that contain caffeine, such as chocolate and cola.
Sodas are not only full of sugar, but they also contain a high amount of phosphoric acid. It is a food additive that prevents calcium and magnesium from being absorbed into your body. Carbonated soft drinks can reduce bone mineral density, and they can also increase the risk of fracture. Instead of drinking sodas on a regular basis, try calcium-laden beverages that bolster bones, such as milk, yogurt-based drinks, or calcium, and vitamin D fortified orange juice.
1. Salty and High-Sodium Foods
Studies show that salt causes excessive calcium excretion through the kidneys leading to weakening bones with time. That means that the more salty foods we eat, the more bone-strengthening calcium we lose. Through processed foods and condiments, we get about twice as much sodium as we should. There are several ways to reduce the amount of salt we consume. Obviously, one option is to cook without added salt, but avoiding processed foods (fast foods, breakfast cereals, etc.) is even more important as processed foods supply 75% of the sodium we eat.