What You Eat Can Increase Your Risk for Osteoporosis

What You Eat Can Increase Your Risk for Osteoporosis

oThe food you eat can affect your bone density and increase your likelihood of having osteoporosis. People need calcium and vitamin D to have strong bones. But, did you know that other elements in your diet can ultimately affect the condition of your bones? Find out from this article what type of diet is best to avoid osteoporosis.

Protein and Osteoporosis

Protein is necessary for building strong bones. However, eating too much of animal protein leads to the production of sulfates, which can cause the leaching of calcium out of bones. The same effect has not been observed when eating vegetable protein. In the Nurses Health Study II, the Harvard Medical School researchers followed the status of women who ate red meat five times per week for 10 years and compared that with other women who ate red meat once per week for the same length of time. The study revealed that the women who ate more red meat had greater risk of having bone fracture than the latter.

Caffeine and Osteoporosis

The Swedish Department of Toxicology’s National Food Administration conducted a study involving 31,527 women who are 40 to 76 years old. The study showed that women who drank about 4 cups of coffee with approximately 330 milligrams of caffeine are more at risk of bone fractures. It was further noted that women who had low calcium consumption are more prone to this risk. The same risk is not seen with tea consumption probably because tea has about 50 percent less caffeine than coffee.

The Framingham Osteoporosis Study, on the other hand, measured the effect of frequent drinking of soft drinks on the bone mineral density of 1,413 women and 1,125 men. The study revealed that drinking cola or diet cola can possibly cause bone loss. However, it is not only because of the caffeine content of the colas, but the phosphorus content as well. In addition, the bone loss may also be because individuals choose to drink sodas instead of milk, thus reducing the intake of calcium.

Vitamin A and Osteoporosis

The Nurses Health Study II showed that women who were taking 3,000 micrograms of vitamin A each day had double the risk of suffering a hip fracture compared to women who were taking 1,500 mcg of vitamin A per day. Vitamin A is required for bone growth, but excess dosage of the retinol form of vitamin A can hinder the absorption of vitamin D, thus resulting in the loss of bone density. Dairy products, egg yolks, liver and some other foods from animal sources are rich in the retinol form of vitamin A. The beta carotene form of vitamin A, which can be found in carrots, sweet potatoes and other plant sources, does not seem to show any negative effect on bone health.

Other Factors Causing Osteoporosis

There are other factors that can have an effect on bone density. These include the following:

  • Excess sodium in the body can cause the excretion of calcium via the urine and sweat. Sources of sodium include table salt and processed foods.
  • Oxalates, a salt that is found in foods like spinach, rhubarb and sweet potatoes, can prevent the absorption of calcium that is found in the same food. So, do not consider such foods as a potential source of calcium.
  • Wheat bran is the only food that is known to hinder the absorption of calcium when both are taken at the same time. So, it is recommended to take calcium supplements, for example, at least two hours before or after eating wheat bran.
  • Alcohol can interfere with calcium and vitamin D absorption, so too much intake of alcoholic drinks can lower bone density. Limiting yourself to one alcoholic drink a day can help lower your risk for osteoporosis.

Fruits and Vegetables and Osteoporosis

When your diet is composed of more animal protein and carbohydrates but less fruits and vegetables, you might have mild acidosis, which contributes to bone loss over time. What you can do to neutralize this condition is to eat fruits and vegetables, so that you can reduce the possibility of bone loss with age.

Keeping your bones healthy requires that you maintain a well-balanced diet. Consider how different types of food can affect calcium absorption, so you can plan what you eat everyday and have a long time to enjoy good bone health.

Photo credits: US National Library of Medicine

Categories: Nutrition

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