We have all been told to drink more milk because calcium and vitamin D is good for the bones, however, what kind of foods cause the bones to become weaker?
Over time, bones will naturally weaken, especially in women after menopause. Bones lose the calcium, important amino acids and minerals that keep the skeletal system strong, which is the primary reason for falls and fractures as people age. Dietary elements can also be a factor in weaker bones, especially in adults over 60. The most common foods and drinks that damage the bones are carbonated drinks, table salt, excessive caffein, hydrogenated oils, and wheat bran.
Phosphoric acid, which increases the blood acidity levels, are found in your favorite soft drinks/sodas. When your body works to balance out the acidity, it pulls the calcium out of the bones. Additionally, there is a lack of calcium in the soft drinks themselves, so there is nothing to offset the calcium being removed from the bones.
Sodium plays a vital role in the body’s overall health, but excessive consumption of table salt can be detrimental to bone density. Table salt causes calcium loss – which weakens the bones over time. Americans get most of their sodium intake through salt, however, the typical intake in the average American is almost double what is healthy for our body. Pink Himalayan salt is a great alternative because while it is sodium chloride, there are other minerals and trace elements, such as potassium and calcium that regular table salt does not have.
Caffeine is another dietary choice that takes calcium from the bones. For every 100 milligrams of caffeine, the body loses up to 6 milligrams of calcium – not as much as salt, but for the caffeine lovers who don’t budge on their intake, it could be worrisome. The recommended caffeine intake daily is 300 milligrams, and a 16-oz cup of coffee has about 320 milligrams. By reducing the daily intake and supplementing with bone-building nutrients, there will be an offset to the losses caused by caffeine intake.
Hydrogenated Oil is the contamination of vegetable oils with hydrogen gas – creating synthetic trans fats. Natural trans fats like coconut oil and animal products are considered healthy, whereas synthetic trans fats are dangerous. This is because hydrogenated oils destroy the naturally occurring vitamin K – which is essential for strong bones. The best way to check if your foods have hydrogenated oils is by reading the ingredient list!
Phytates prevent the body from absorbing calcium. Wheat bran, like in beans, contain high levels of phytates. In addition, 100% wheat bran reduces absorption of calcium when eaten with other foods simultaneously (such as drinking milk with wheat bran – the wheat bran will reduce the absorption of the calcium and other vitamins that come from the milk). Switching from whole wheat bran to sprouted grains is recommended because the sprouting process breaks down those phytates and allows for nutrients such as magnesium and vitamin B to be easily absorbed.
In addition to avoiding foods that aid in bone loss, one dietary addition to help with bone density is the collagen protein. Collagen aids in structural support in connective tissues like the muscles, skin, and bones. By adding collagen to the diet, one may help prevent further deterioration of the bone. Collagen also aids in the strengthening of the muscles, relieving joint pain, enhances skin complexion, improves hair health, and promotes heart and artery health. Collagen can be found in animal products like chicken drumsticks or skin from poultry, or can be taken through supplements.