Bone Health

We all know as we get older, particularly women, can suffer from loss of bone mass especially as you reach menopause age. It is important to keep fit and active to keep your body strong as well as eating lots of calcium but there are other factors to consider

More Tips for Eating for Good Bone Health

Beans (Legumes)

While beans contain calcium, beans contain magnesium, fibre and other nutrients; they are also high in substances called phytates. Phytates interfere with your body’s ability to absorb the calcium that is contained in beans. You can reduce the Phytate level by soaking beans in water for several hours and then cooking them in fresh water.

Meat and Other High Protein Foods
It’s important to get enough, but not too much protein for bone health and overall health. Many older adults do not get enough protein in their diets and this may be harmful to bones. However, special high protein diets that contain multiple servings of meat and protein with each meal can also cause the body to lose calcium. You can make up for this loss by getting enough calcium for your body’s needs. For example dairy products, although high in protein, also contain calcium that is important for healthy bones.

Salty Foods

Eating foods that have a lot of salt (sodium) causes your body to lose calcium and can lead to bone loss. Try to limit the amount of processed foods, canned foods and salt added to the foods you eat each day. To learn if a food is high in sodium, look at the Nutrition Facts label look for the green labels on the traffic light system

Spinach and Other Foods with Oxalates
Your body doesn’t absorb calcium well from foods that are high in oxalates (oxalic acid) such as spinach. Other foods with oxalates are rhubarb, greens and certain beans. These foods contain other healthy nutrients, but they just shouldn’t be counted as sources of calcium.

Wheat Bran

Like beans, wheat bran contains high levels of phytates which can prevent your body from absorbing calcium. However, unlike beans 100% wheat bran is the only food that appears to reduce the absorption of calcium in other foods eaten at the same time. For example, when you have milk and 100% wheat bran cereal together, your body can absorb some, but not all, of the calcium from the milk. The wheat bran in other foods like breads is much less concentrated and not likely to have a noticeable impact on calcium absorption. If you take calcium supplements, you may want to take them two or more hours before or after eating 100% wheat bran.

Alcohol
Drinking heavily can lead to bone loss. Limit alcohol to no more than 2 – 3 drinks per day.

Caffeine
Coffee, tea and soft drinks contain caffeine, which may decrease calcium absorption and contribute to bone loss. Choose these drinks in moderation.

Coffee/Tea
Drinking more than three cups of coffee every day may interfere with calcium absorption and cause bone loss.

Soft Drinks

Some studies suggest that colas, but not other soft drinks, are associated with bone loss. While more research will help us to better understand the link between soft drinks and bone health, here is what we know:

The carbonation in soft drinks does not cause any harm to bone.
The caffeine and phosphorous commonly found in colas may contribute to bone loss.
Like calcium, phosphorous is a part of the bones. It is listed as an ingredient in colas, some other soft drinks and processed foods as “phosphate” or “phosphoric acid.”

Some experts say that we get too much phosphorous, while others believe that it is not a problem as long as people get enough calcium. The harm to bone may actually be caused when people choose soft drinks over milk and calcium-fortified beverages.

Luckily you can help make up for any calcium lost from these beverages by getting enough calcium to meet your body’s needs.

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