Want to keep your bones healthy and strong? Start by cutting back on these four bone-damaging foods.
As we age, it’s essential to take proper care of your bones. From dietary supplements to exercises that promote osteogenesis, there are many things you can add to your daily routine to maintain the integrity of your bones.
We’ve already talked quite a bit about revitalizing foods you can add to your diet, so today let’s ask the question:
Are there foods that I can cut back on to support bone health?
Take a look at these five foods that have been demonstrated to be unhelpful to bone health when consumed frequently.
4 Bone-Damaging Foods You Can Cut Back On
Salt is a common–and often excessive–addition to the American diet.
Too much salt consumption can be bad news for your bones by driving calcium out of the body by way of your kidneys. Calcium is an essential nutrient when it comes to bone health, so if you don’t get a lot of it in your daily meals, excess salt has the potential to set you back even further!
How much salt is too much? The FDA recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams of salt per day (that’s 2.3 grams).
Health experts recommend reducing the intake of caffeine for numerous health reasons (bone and joint care makes the list).
Caffeine makes it harder for your body to absorb calcium from foods. Yep, another calcium inhibitor!
Also, note that caffeinated cola can be a double-edged sword to bones due to its phosphoric acid content. Researchers note that phosphoric acid affects the absorption of both calcium and vitamin D, increasing risk of osteoporotic fracture.
Here’s another recommendation for daily caffeine intake via the Mayo Clinic: 400mg of caffeine per day, or about four cups of coffee, is safe for healthy adults.
You might be thinking that’s a generous amount—we actually did too! But let’s keep some things in mind:
- If your bone health is less than optimal, 400mg of caffeine probably isn’t the best idea.
- 1 cup is equal to 8 ounces. If you use a mug to drink your tea or coffee, you’re probably drinking more than a standard cup.
- Fun fact about coffee serving sizes: a Starbucks’ “Tall” coffee is 12 ounces.
We probably don’t need to remind you that large amounts of sugar can result in several health problems. But did you know that it can negatively affect the absorption of calcium and magnesium?
What’s more, glucose (the basic building block of sugar) competes with vitamin C in our bodies, too. We tend to think of vitamin C when we’re feeling sick, but it plays an essential role in the formation of trabecular bone (the porous-looking parts of your bone that absorb shock).
You can “hit two birds with one stone” by cutting back on processed foods. That is, in doing so, you’ll simultaneously cut back on salt and sugar intake, too.
Processed meats like hot dogs, cold cuts, and bacon are acidifying foods associated with weakened bones. Refined sugar and bleached flour are two other examples of processed foods with acidifying chemicals.
Caveat: not all processed foods are unhealthy.
If you have trouble distinguishing what falls into the “unhealthy processed foods” category, here are some things to avoid:
- High fructose corn syrup
- Foods with nutrition labels that have a lot of ingredients you don’t know or can’t pronounce
One step you can take today
If you find that your diet consists mainly of these four foods, try cutting back on at least one on your next meal, whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Your bones (and the rest of your body) will thank you!
Interested in learning more about what bone-building foods and nutrients you can add to your diet? The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in Artic Flex are a great place to start! Check out our past posts on zinc, vitamin D, and strontium