According to a report on bone health and osteoporosis from the Surgeon General, an estimated 1.5 million people suffer an osteoporotic-related fracture each year. Left unchecked, this number will only get worse in an aging population. Healthy bones allow for mobility, protect against injury, and house minerals vital to the function of the body. With osteoporosis—a condition that causes thinning bones and other bone diseases—bones lose density and become more susceptible to injury. Fortunately, switching up your diet can cause great improvements. Keep reading to see the top foods to avoid for better bone health.
Mind Your Salt Intake
A touch of salt can add flavor to your food, but studies show that high-sodium foods can actually lead to osteoporosis. When your body flushes out excess salt, it takes valuable calcium away with it. To help retain bone-enriching calcium, avoid a diet containing overly salty foods like:
• Processed deli meat
• Canned or frozen foods
• Sauces and marinades
Even heart-healthy foods like cottage cheese and some breakfast cereals may have added sodium, so always read the nutrition label to ensure healthy eating. When in doubt, try keeping to 2,300 milligrams of sodium in your diet per day.
Stay Away from Soda
You may rely on sugary sodas for that afternoon pick me up, but your daily cola habit has damaging phosphoric acid and caffeine that can spell trouble for your bone health. Some studies show that phosphoric acid may leach calcium from the bones, and the added caffeine in soda can also contribute to calcium loss. This is especially true for women, who are already at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis. Swapping calcium-rich drinks like milk for soda could also increase your risk of bone injury. If you already have osteoporosis, the National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends limiting cola consumption to five per week or less.
Watch Out for Antacids
Many people take over-the-counter and prescription medications for heartburn and acid reflux, but the Food and Drug Administration says that high doses of these medications taken over long periods of time may be linked to a higher risk of bone fracture. Specifically, proton-pump inhibitors like Nexium, Prevacid, and Prilosec used for long-lasting reduction of stomach acid may be particularly damaging. Additionally, antacids with aluminum may also reduce calcium levels, making your bones more brittle. Talk to your doctor if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease or other digestive diseases that may impact your bone health.