With many health conditions, the foods you choose – or choose not – to eat, can play an important role in preventing or managing symptoms. Whether you need to alter your diet to control your symptoms can somewhat depend on how great your risk is. Not everyone needs to eliminate the following foods known to be harmful to your bone health, but if you have a family history of osteoporosis you might want to consider cutting back.
- Caffeine – Your morning jump-start or afternoon pick-me-up can interfere with your calcium absorption. More calcium is pulled into the urine when your intake of caffeine is high.
- Salt – The typical American diet is laden with sodium. There are several health risks, including bone health. Salt is known to cause excessive calcium excretion through the kidneys, so the more salt you consume, the more calcium you shed in urine and sweat.
- Sugar – Excess sugar inhibits calcium absorption and depletes phosphorus, another mineral important in facilitating the absorption of calcium. If your bone health is already in question, satisfy your sweet tooth with prunes, cranberries, and other fruits rich in antioxidants — healthful substances that support bone health.
- Alcohol – When you drink, alcohol acts like a calcium-blocker, preventing the bone-building minerals you eat from being absorbed. And heavy drinking disrupts the bone remodeling process by preventing osteoblasts, the bone-building cells, from doing their job. So not only do bones become weaker, but if you break a bone, alcohol can interfere with healing.
- Legumes (Beans) – If you’re cutting back on meat and eating more pinto beans, navy beans and peas for their high-fiber, low-fat content, you should know that in excess, they could interfere with your body’s ability to absorb calcium. The phytates in beans bind with calcium and other minerals, preventing their absorption.