Foods to avoid with osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is thought to affect around one in three women and one in five men around the world. As we get older, our bones become more brittle, but a healthy well balanced nutritious diet can help maintain the strength of your bones and muscles. Strong bones need calcium and vitamin D. Calcium helps to strengthen your bones and teeth, while vitamin D will help your body absorb the calcium in your diet.

In this article, we will take a look at what osteoporosis is, what foods you should avoid, the foods you should eat, and other commonly asked questions about how a balanced diet can affect osteoporosis.

What is osteoporosis?

People diagnosed with osteoporosis will have low bone mass and bone tissue, and their bones will become weaker with an increased risk of fractures. Individuals may lose bone density as they age or during menopause, leading to an increased risk of osteoporosis. Your ethnicity will also play a part in the risk of you developing osteoporosis.

What foods should I avoid with osteoporosis?

  • Salt – salt is present in nearly all processed foods, whole grain bread, breakfast cereals, and fast foods. To reduce your salt intake limit food such as ham, deli turkey, hot dogs, reduced-calorie meals, canned soups, pizzas, burgers, and fries. It has been found that postmenopausal women on a high-salt diet lose more of their bone minerals. If you are unable to reduce your salt intake, eat potassium-rich foods, such as tomatoes, bananas, and orange juice. Potassium has been shown to help reduce calcium loss
  • Soda drinks – certain carbonated soft drinks such as cola contain phosphoric acid, which can increase the excretion of calcium in your urine. Also, most soft drinks are low in calcium levels. To prevent osteoporosis drink orange juice that contains calcium and vitamin D, fruit smoothies, or fat-free plain or chocolate milk. Also, heavy alcohol drinking can lead to bone loss. Make sure you limit your alcohol consumption
  • Caffeine – limit yourself to four cups of coffee a day if your level of calcium intake is not high, or if you have other risk factors for osteoporosis. Drink half or full-decaf coffee, iced tea, or hot tea. Tea is actually thought to help improve bone mineral density in older women, whether they add milk to their drinks or not. This may be due to the tea containing plant compounds that help to protect bone
  • Soy products such as tofu, and tempeh are high in bone-building protein, but will also contain compounds that reduce the absorption of calcium. Oxalates in soy bind with calcium making it unavailable to the body. Soy may cause problems with bone strength if your calcium intake is low. Make sure you get plenty of calcium in your diet to avoid this risk

What foods are good for osteoporosis?

Foods good for osteoporosis include:

  • Dairy products – low-fat and non-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • Fish – canned sardines, salmon, mackerel, and tuna
  • Fruits and vegetables – collard greens, turnip greens, dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, okra, Chinese cabbage, dandelion greens, mustard greens, broccoli, spinach, beet greens, artichokes, plantains, potatoes, sweet potatoes, prunes, raisins, tomato products, papaya, oranges, orange juice, bananas, red peppers, green peppers, oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, brussels sprouts, papaya and pineapples
  • Fortified Foods – breakfast foods, soy milk, rice milk, cereals, snacks, and bread

Best calcium foods for osteoporosis

Some people may need to take calcium supplements to treat osteoporosis. Some people may get enough calcium through food sources. The list above is a comprehensive list of foods high in calcium.

Whats foods are good for healthy bones and muscles?

Strong bones require calcium and vitamin D. Calcium strengthens your bones and teeth, and vitamin D will help your body absorb the calcium more effectively.

The recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D every day for adults up to the age 50 are 1 gram of calcium and 200 International Units (IU) of vitamin D each day. Older adults require 1.2 grams of calcium and 400 to 600 IU of Vitamin D daily. Vitamin D is found in fortified milk, saltwater fish, egg yolks, liver, supplements, and natural sunlight.

Calcium and vitamin D are both available in supplements, and in your diet naturally. Foods containing calcium and vitamin D include:

  • Yogurt
  • Milk
  • Salmon and tuna
  • Spinach
  • Fortified foods

Women are recommended to get around 46 grams of protein daily. Men should get about 56 grams daily. Protein helps to build muscle and muscle will help to burn fat. Foods containing protein include:

  • Lean meats such as steak, chicken, and lean cuts of red meat
  • Fish
  • Greek yogurt – one cup of plain Greek yogurt contains around 24 grams of protein. Adding fresh fruit and nuts will add flavor and keep the calories down
  • Eggs – the yolk contains calcium and protein
  • Nut butter – peanut butter and almond butter are packed full of protein

Is oatmeal good for osteoporosis?

Oats are considered to be the best whole grain to prevent osteoporosis. Combining minerals within oats is great for improving bone mineral density.

What foods make osteoporosis worse?

Ultra-processed foods, foods with added sugar, and high in salt are the worst foods for bone health and may increase your risk of osteoporosis.

Are bananas good for osteoporosis?

Foods high in potassium can help build good bone health. Bananas, tomatoes, papayas, and oranges, are all high in potassium content. Orange juice and raisins are also an option but contain high levels of sugar.

What foods are high sources of calcium?

Foods high in calcium include dairy products, fish (canned sardines, salmon, mackerel, and tuna), fruits and vegetables (such as collard greens, dark green leafy vegetables, okra, broccoli, sweet potatoes, papaya, bananas, and pineapples), and fortified foods (breakfast foods, soy milk, rice milk, cereals, snacks, and bread).

The recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D every day for adults up to the age 50 are 1 gram of calcium and 200 International Units (IU) of vitamin D each day. Older adults require 1.2 grams of calcium and 400 to 600 IU of Vitamin D daily. Vitamin D is found in fortified milk, saltwater fish, egg yolks, liver, supplements, and natural sunlight.

Meat and other high protein foods

Older adults generally do not consume enough protein, and this may potentially be harmful to their bones, but high protein diets containing meat can be equally as harmful and also cause your body to lose calcium. Red meat in partcular can cause your bones to lose calcium. Limit red meat to twice a week. Also, avoid processed or cured meats.

The recommended daily protein intake is 0.8 grams per 2.2 pounds of body weight for men and women over the age of 19. Protein is available in a number of different food sources such as fish, chicken, fat-free plain yogurt, and eggs.

What foods block calcium absorption?

Foods high in salts (such as processed foods, whole grain bread, breakfast cereals, and fast foods), some soda drinks, caffeine, and soy products (such as tofu, and tempeh) reduce the absorption of calcium. Also, beans (legumes) high in calcium, magnesium, fiber, and other nutrients are also high in phytates. Phytates block your body’s ability to absorb calcium contained in the beans.

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Sources (2)

  1. Bone Health and Osteoporosis Foundation - Food and Your Bones — Osteoporosis Nutrition Guidelines

  2. WebMD - Osteoporosis Diet Dangers: Foods to Avoid

The content on this website is intended for information purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice. The information on this website should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always speak to your doctor regarding the risks and benefits of any treatment.
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