Foods to Avoid for Bone Health

Foods to Avoid for Bone Health

A healthy diet is essential for maintaining bone health. Key nutrients include calcium, vitamin C, vitamin D, magnesium, vitamin K, zinc, and protein. But what about foods to avoid? There are some foods and groups of foods that are not beneficial to your bone health, and can actually contribute to conditions such as osteoporosis. In this article, we will explore what foods you should avoid for optimal bone health. 

1. High-Sodium Foods

Your body needs adequate amounts of calcium to form bone. When you consume excess salt, your body releases calcium. Over time this is harmful and leads to weakening bones. In fact, calcium requirements are high in the United States because of the high sodium content in the traditional American diet. Studies have shown that postmenopausal women lost more bone minerals when on a high-salt diet than those on a lower sodium diet. The recommended maximum intake for sodium is 2,300 milligrams per day, which is only one teaspoon of salt. Most Americans consume in excess of 4,000 milligrams of sodium per day. 

If you are eating packaged foods, get in the habit of looking at nutrition labels. Salt content is high in almost all processed foods, such as bread, breakfast cereal, and fast food. Low sodium foods will have % daily values of 5% or less. The easiest way to lower your salt intake is to decrease your consumption of processed foods, as processed foods account for 75% of the sodium we eat. Some of the highest-salt foods include processed meats such as deli meat and hot dogs; fast food such as pizza, burgers, fries, and tacos; processed foods such as frozen meals; canned soups, vegetables, and vegetables juices; and baked products such as bread and breakfast cereals. When eating out, look up the restaurant on the internet first and see if they have nutrition information available. Look at the sodium content and try to stay under 800 milligrams per meal. Good options include grilled fish, chicken, steamed vegetables, baked potatoes, and salad. You can also request that your meal be prepared without salt.Table Salt Ensuring you are getting the recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D will help counteract the bone loss from salt. The daily calcium recommendation for adults up to age 50 is 1,000 milligrams, and 1,200 milligrams for older adults. Individuals need 200 IU (International Units) of vitamin D until age 50, 400 IU from age 51 to 70, and 600 IU after age 70. Potassium can also help offset the loss of calcium from high sodium consumption. Potassium-rich foods include bananas, tomatoes, and orange juice.

2. Soft Drinks

Many sodas and carbonated soft drinks contain phosphoric acid, which can cause calcium excretion in your urine. In addition, most soft drinks do not contain calcium, meaning they are bad news if you are trying to take care of your bone health. If your calcium intake is low, excess phosphorus in your body promotes calcium loss. Enjoying a soda occasionally is okay, but most people consume too much. Some alternative drinks that can help build stronger bones include orange juice fortified with calcium and vitamin D, seltzer or club soda (that is free of phosphoric acid), a fruit smoothie with yogurt and fruit, and milk. 


3. Beans & Legumes

Beans and legumes have many positive attributes, such as high protein content. However, they also contain compounds called phytates, which can affect your ability to absorb calcium. You can reduce the number of phytates based on your cooking method. Soak the beans or legumes in water for two to three hours, then drain them before you cook them.

4. Wheat Bran

As with beans and legumes, wheat bran is high in phytates, which decreases calcium absorption. 100 percent wheat bran is the only food that also reduces calcium absorption in other foods if eaten at the same time. So, if you are trying to increase your calcium consumption, do not have calcium supplements or other high calcium foods within two to three hours of eating 100 percent wheat bran. 

5. Alcohol

Alcohol consumption can lead to bone loss. A moderate intake should be safe for people with osteoporosis, but no more than two drinks per day should be consumed. 


Espresso Coffee Cup

6. Caffeine

Caffeine negatively impacts bone health by decreasing calcium absorption. For every 100 milligrams of caffeine you consume, you lose about 6 milligrams of calcium. Any drinks with caffeine, such as coffee, tea, soda, and energy drinks, should be consumed in moderation. These drinks all contain different amounts of caffeine, so make sure you are aware of how much caffeine you are consuming. Limit your caffeine to 300 milligrams a day and ensure you are getting enough calcium. For reference, a 16-ounce coffee can contain 320 milligrams of caffeine. Soda can contain more than 80 milligrams per can. Certain teas do contain caffeine, but some studies have suggested that tea probably helps promote bone density in older women. You can slowly decrease your coffee consumption by drinking part regular and part decaf drinks. You can also replace your caffeinated beverages with decaffeinated tea or iced tea. 

Foods High in Calcium

Maintaining your bone health and avoiding conditions such as osteoporosis is essential for maintaining your wellbeing and independence. The best eating strategy for bone health is a diet low in sodium and high in fresh and minimally processed foods, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Ensure you are meeting your calcium and vitamin D requirements either through food or supplementation, and limit your caffeine and carbonated drinks.

Learn the best way to naturally strengthen and protect your bones. Click here for more information.

14-Day Bone Strengthening