4 Foods That Spell Bad News for Your Bones
We can probably all name some foods that help to promote stronger bones, but were you aware that some foods are also detrimental to bone health? That’s right; some nutrients hasten the rate at which we lose bone mass. Here we take a look at four groups of foods that may increase your risk of bone thinning, which you can use to inform your food choices.
Foods high in salt
Not only is a diet rich in salty foods associated with raised blood pressure and an increased likelihood of stomach cancer, but this can have an adverse effect on our bones as well. Diets containing more salt lead to the loss of extra calcium from our skeleton and increased urinary calcium excretion; with less calcium our bones lose their strength more rapidly. Besides reducing the amount of salt you cook with and add at the table, it is beneficial to cut back on processed foods high in salt. Those foods to watch out for include salted snacks, processed meats, cheese, readymade soups, sauces and microwave meals. Even everyday foods such as bread, cereals and biscuits can be saltier than you think, so check the packaging and choose those items containing least salt.
Whether you choose regular or sugar-free versions, fizzy drinks are another item that increases calcium losses from our bones. This is the result of their phosphoric acid content, as this creates an acidic environment with calcium drawn from the bones to neutralise conditions. They can also mean bad news for our skeleton if they replace calcium-rich drinks. The best option is to swap them for still water, cordial, fruit juice or milk.
Drinks with caffeine
A milky cup of tea or coffee may not be as good for your bones as you previously thought. This is due to the caffeine they contain, which also speeds losses of skeletal calcium. Switch to decaffeinated tea and coffee instead.
While alcohol in moderation is unlikely to harm your bones, heavy drinking will. Alcohol inhibits the body’s ability to absorb calcium, so mineralisation of the bones is incomplete leaving them vulnerable to fracture. If you are a man have no more than two alcoholic drinks daily, falling to one if you are a woman; ideally you should also have some alcohol-free days each week. Avoid the fizzy mixers as well.