While many people are aware of some of the best foods that help promote bone health, foods that can have the opposite effect on bones are often ignored. It is the belief of such people that as long as they get enough of the bone-supporting calcium and the osteoporosis-fighting vitamin D, they are good to go, and their bones would suffer no ill health. While they may be right to an extent, things are not entirely as straightforward as that.
This is because many people often overlook some of the foods that are capable of promoting osteoporosis and other bone-related problems by causing gradual degradation and weakening of bones. Unfortunately, foods and drinks that do this are very much around us and their consumption is always on the high side. Such foods can inhibit the absorption of calcium by the body, thus reducing bone mineral density.
It is therefore important to be aware of such foods and watch or regulate your consumption of them. A few examples of such foods are examined briefly below:
1. Salty foods
According to Everyday Health, the more your salt or sodium consumption, the more calcium you lose via your kidneys. This explains why a high intake of foods with high salt content is linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis. Not only does a high intake of salty foods significantly increase your risk of bone problems, but your blood pressure can also be affected. A salt intake of about 2,300 milligrams per day is recommended for good bone health.
2. Sugary snacks
For those with a sweet tooth, caution is always preached to avoid going overboard. According to Everyday Health, sugar may have no concrete link to increased risk of osteoporosis as it does not have a direct effect on bones, but when foods with added sugar are consumed, some of the nutrients that can help the bones avoid progressive weakening may not be derived in adequate quantities, increasing the risk of osteoporosis.
Sodas including most of your sugar-sweetened drinks and beverages are generally considered bad news for health in general, no thanks to some of the health conditions associated with their intake Including type 2 diabetes and obesity. But beyond that, a high intake of sodas has been linked to a reduction in bone mineral density and an increased risk of fracture. Thus, you may need to watch your intake of them.
Caffeine is present in teas, coffee and some caffeinated beverages. While caffeine is beneficial to health in some ways, when consumed excessively, it can contribute to low bone density, especially in postmenopausal women. According to Elizabeth Shimer Bowers of Everyday Health, caffeine does this by leaching calcium from bones, thus drastically reducing their strength. Over time, the bones become weakened and fractures may occur.
Exercising restraint and moderation when consuming alcohol is often preached due to some of the potential negative effects of excessive alcohol intake. Studies have shown the positive correlation that exists between chronic and heavy alcohol intake and low bone mass, decreased bone formation, increased risk of fractures, and delayed healing of fractures. Thus, it may be great to follow the “2 to 3 glasses a day” recommendation of the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
6. Raw spinach
Spinach is one of the healthiest green, leafy vegetables on the planet. However, while rich green raw spinach has ample quantities of calcium (an essential element required for strong bones), its intake must not be on the high side as it also contains oxalates, which bind to calcium and reduce its availability to the body. This implies that when you eat spinach, the oxalates can prevent the absorption of calcium, thus, you should eat your spinach with foods that readily absorb calcium.
7. Red meat
A high intake of animal protein can also lead to bone problems in the long run. This is because animal protein is capable of leaching calcium from your bones and making them susceptible to thinning and possible fractures. According to Everyday Health, studies revealed that reducing your intake of red and processed meats, soft drinks, fried foods, sweets and desserts, and refined grains, can all help significantly boost your bone health.