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Foods to Avoid for Bone Health

Last updated on November 12th, 2023 at 09:06 pm

A healthy diet is important for maintaining bone health. Key nutrients include calcium, vitamin C, vitamin D, magnesium, vitamin K, zinc, and protein. But what about foods to avoid? Some foods and groups are not useful to bone health and can add to conditions such as osteoporosis. This article will explore what foods you should avoid for optimal bone health. 

Foods Bad For Bones

1. High-Sodium Foods

Your body needs enough 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. 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 lose 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 more than 4,000 milligrams of sodium per day. 

Examples of High Sodium Foods

If you are eating packaged foods, get in the habit of looking at nutrition labels. Salt 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 lower your consumption of processed foods, as processed foods account for 75% of the sodium we eat.

When eating out, look up the restaurant on the internet first and see if they have nutrition information. Look at the sodium content and stay under 800 milligrams per meal. Some of the highest-salt foods, which are Foods Bad For Bones 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 vegetable juices; and baked products such as bread and breakfast cereals.

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 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 have 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, a seltzer or club soda (that is free of phosphoric acid), a fruit smoothie with yogurt and fruit, and milk. 


3. Beans And Legumes

Beans and legumes have many positive attributes, such as high protein content. However, they also contain phytates that make them Foods Bad For Bones 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 lowers calcium absorption. One hundred percent wheat bran is the only food that reduces calcium absorption in other foods if eaten simultaneously. 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 daily drinks should be consumed. 

Espresso Coffee Cup

6. Caffeine

Caffeine is one of the ingredients of Foods Bad For Bones that negatively impacts bone health by low 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 control. These drinks contain different amounts of caffeine, so make sure you know how much caffeine you consume.

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 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 bone health and avoiding conditions such as osteoporosis are important for well-being 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 meet your calcium and vitamin D requirements through nutrition or supplementation, and limit your caffeine and carbonated drinks.

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