Globally, osteoporosis causes more than 8.9 million fractures a year.
That means, there’s an osteoporotic fracture happening every 3 seconds.
Osteoporosis is also estimated to affect over 200 million women worldwide. It’s a globally common condition that CAN be prevented through a good osteoporosis diet, regular physical activity and supplementation to make up for the shortfall.
So with that in mind, we thought it would be good to put together a list of foods to avoid while on the road to preventing osteoporosis. Keeping away from these foods will not only improve your bone density, but they’ll also better your health overall.
Cola-type sodas appear to have a damaging effect on bone density. Phosphoric acid seems to be of blame. Now you may be thinking, I thought phosphorus is good for you? And yes, that is true, sort of. Phosphorous is an essential mineral for cell structure and function, but when consumed in excess, it has adverse effects on metabolism and health. And excess is what recent research has shown is what the Standard American Diet provides. Americans consume far more phosphorous daily than what is recommended. Some even exceed an adult’s tolerable upper limit! It was found that people who regularly drank cola-based sodas (3 or more per day) had as much as 4% lower bone mineral density!
There are many health issues associated with excess sugar consumption: it elevates blood, increases triglycerides and LDL; depletes vitamins and minerals; contributes to heart and liver damage and gout. For the average person 25% of their calories comes from sugar, which greatly contributes to insulin resistance and weight gain!
And when it comes to your bones, high blood sugar has been proven to increase urinary calcium excretion.
To cut back on your sugar intake, we’d recommend getting your sweet fix elsewhere – try a natural sweetener like Stevia or even, raw honey as a way of “weaning” yourself off sugar. Top foods to avoid/limit are cakes, candy, canned soup, juices, biscuits, granola bars, and even pasta sauces – as they have a surprising amount of added sugar in them. Replace these with tea, seafood, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, lentils, quinoa, almonds and pistachios; all great foods for preventing osteoporosis.
Keep your bones in tip-top shape by keeping your salt intake in check!
With pre-packaged and fast foods being a staple in the Standard American Diet, salt intake is higher than ever. And when it comes to your bones, excess intake may increase the loss of calcium through urine. Research has found that for each 100 mmol increase in salt in your diet, calcium is expelled by 1.4mmol. If this loss is assumed to be from the bone, then this equates to about 1% extra loss of bone each year.
So, what does this mean for you?
A good osteoporosis diet is one that is obviously low in salt. For an adult, less than 5g (just under a teaspoon) is the recommended salt intake, per day. Top foods to stay away from (or at the very least, start limiting yourself with) are your processed foods, cured meats, sauces, salad dressings, cheese, instant soups, bagels and frozen dinners. Good replacements for these salty foods are dark leafy greens, plain yogurt, unsalted rice and pasta, dried fruits, mozzarella, eggs, couscous and fresh fish.
Try cutting back on your cola drinks (or if you can, eliminate them completely from your osteoporosis diet) and substitute with water, tea, fresh juice and coconut water.
If you are sensitive to certain foods – you must avoid them! Especially common sensitivities such as gluten and dairy foods.
In fact, anyone whose genetic inheritance includes haptoglobin 1/2 or 2/2 (which is more than 90% of us) will react to gluten. Wheat, barley, rye, spelt and all the stuff made with these grains. Gluten causes leaky gut, promotes inflammation systemically, and promotes bone loss.
Did you know that over 70% of your immune system is found in your digestive tract? That’s why it’s so important to have a properly functioning digestive system.
Food sensitivities can trigger inflammation and cause your immune system to weaken over time.
If you struggle from bloating, indigestion, gas, reflux or other bowel issues, this may be a sign that you are suffering from a food sensitivity.
If you experience any of these symptoms, try an elimination diet to discover the cause. Do this by taking out the food you believe may be causing your sensitivity for 3 weeks, then reintroduce it. You can also ask your doctor for a sensitivity test.
Chronic and heavy alcohol consumption is not only bad for your bones, but overall health. However, alcohol, especially red wine in moderation is actually good for you. Research from the University of Oregon shows moderate consumption of wine on a regular basis benefits your bones. This is especially true for aging women who have experienced menopause.
So keep enjoying a glass with your meal! A regular glass of red wine or beer as part of a healthy lifestyle can actually be protective of bone health.
And in fact, those who consume no alcohol at all, have higher risk for type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and all-cause mortality.
Moderate alcohol consumption guidelines are having up to 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day, for men.
Non-Organic Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and veggies are good for you, no doubt about it. But if you can help it, try to opt for organic produce whenever possible to reduce your pesticide exposure. Now, this may not always be possible depending on the time of year, where you live or simply due to cost.
So every year the Environmental Work Group (EWG) releases a Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides. This list lists the fruits and veggies that have the most pesticides, and which have the fewest. This makes it easier for you to decide what foods are worth spending extra for when it comes to organic produce. The same goes for your supplements, choosing all natural and organic supplement should be your first choice.
And there we have it!
6 foods to avoid, or at the very least, cut back on, for your osteoporosis diet. Summarily, the safest strategy would be to make sure that you’re consuming foods low in salt, rich in freshness and minimally processed whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Be sure to always meet your recommended calcium daily intake and use supplements to increase your bones’ density.
Do you avoid any foods on this list? Let us know in the comments.
For a printable version of this list: 6 Foods to Avoid for Osteoporosis PDF.