Aging is a pain, we know, but there are things we can do make it easier. Everything we put into our body matters, and when it comes to protecting our bones over time some foods can help, while others can hinder. While adding the right foods like yogurt and fish to our diet can help us preserve our bone health, we also want to be sure we’re not sabotaging our efforts by eating the wrong ones.
Nutrients like calcium and vitamin D are known to contribute to healthy bones. However, there are also compounds in foods that can contribute to bone break-down, so you want to be sure to steer clear of them, or at least limit your intake. Luckily, the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) has put together a list of foods to avoid if you want to keep your bones strong and healthy. Check them out below and be sure to avoid these on your next grocery trip!
Coffee and Tea
The caffeine in your morning beverage can contribute to bone loss because caffeine prevents calcium from being absorbed. But don’t worry: according to the NOF, you can enjoy your brew in moderation, limiting yourself to less than three cups per day.
It’s believed that since many soda beverages contain caffeine and phosphorous, they could contribute to bone loss. In fact, one study that observed 73,000 postmenopausal women found those who drank soda had a higher risk of fracturing their hips — and that was with both regular and diet soda with or without caffeine.
Legumes and Wheat Bran
What do beans and wheat bran have in common? They contain phytates — or compounds that interfere with your body’s ability to absorb calcium. That being said, this only applies to 100 percent wheat bran products, so you don’t have to worry about breads with small amounts of wheat bran in them. You don’t have to completely avoid beans, either. Just soak them overnight or for a few hours before cooking in fresh water to reduce phytates!
According to the NOF, drinking alcohol has been linked to bone loss. That’s because alcohol (as little as two to three ounces) interferes with the bodies ability to absorb calcium. Another reason that alcohol may be harmful to bones is that heavy consumption decreases estrogen levels and increases cortisol levels. Less estrogen is problematic for bones, and too much cortisol causes bones to break down.
You may have heard this one already, but the effects of too much salt are worth mentioning whenever we discuss bone health. Foods that are salty are heavy in sodium. Sodium is yet another compound that prevents the body from absorbing calcium and contributes to weak bones and bone loss. Unfortunately, our diets tend to be loaded with extra sodium, especially when it comes to packaged foods. Be sure to check your food labels for high amounts of sodium when buying foods like processed meats like bacon and canned foods like soups. According to the NOF, “if it lists 20 percent or more for the % Daily Value, it is high in sodium. Aim to get no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day.”
So there you have it! If you’ve been wondering why those calcium supplements might not be working, it could actually be that you’re consuming foods which get in the way of calcium absorption. Be sure to stay away from (or at least limit) the foods mentioned above, and you’ll be on the road to stronger, healthier bones in no time.