Worried about Your Bones During Menopause? Skip These 6 Foods
More than likely, you know that calcium is important for making your bones healthy and strong. So with osteoporosis a greater concern now that you’ve entered menopause, you may have already been increasing your intake of dairy products, fish, greens, and foods fortified with calcium. But you may not have given thought to the rest of your diet, not realizing that there are some foods that can interfere with your body’s ability to absorb calcium.
As you work to add calcium rich foods and beverages to your diet, be aware of those which could counteract the good stuff. The list below is a place to start, and your doctor may also have recommendations for foods you should avoid.
A lot of salt can cause your body to eliminate more calcium. Over time, that could weaken your bones. Besides putting aside the salt shaker, avoid packaged, canned, and processed foods which are often high in sodium. Learn to read labels, cook from scratch, and ask your doctor what your daily intake of sodium should be.
Sugar may change the mineral balance in your body, thus impacting your bone health. It can also cause your body to secrete extra calcium in your urine. Even if sugar doesn’t have a direct impact on your bones, it could prevent you from eating healthier foods. Too much sugar can also lead to you weight gain and not feeling your best, thus impacting how often you exercise and putting extra strain on your bones.
Excessive alcohol can be a problem for a number of reasons. It can prevent your body from absorbing calcium well, destroy cells that make bones, affect hormones needed for bone formation, and contribute to malnutrition which is harmful for your bones. Incidentally, if you become inebriated, you’re at greater risk for falling which could lead to a broken bone. Even if it heals, it may not be as strong, could break again, and puts you at risk for developing osteoporosis.
Consuming drinks with caffeine may negatively affect your bone density, although tea may be fine. One theory is that drinking caffeinated beverages may keep you from drinking enough water and healthy liquids. Some caffeinated drinks, like colas, may also contain a lot of sugar and phosphoric acid which may be harmful for your bones. To be on the safe side, keep caffeinated drinks to a minimum and make water your beverage of choice.
You don’t need to avoid legumes, but you do need to soak them. While they are a good source of protein and important nutrients, some are high in phytates which can affect your ability to absorb calcium. Thankfully, there’s a simple solution. Soaking them in fresh water for a few hours before cooking reduces the phytates levels.
Another food high in phytates is wheat bran. If the bran is used as an ingredient in another product, such as bread, there may not be a significant impact on calcium absorption. Eaten as 100% wheat bran, however, can prevent your body from absorbing the calcium of other food products eaten in the same meal. One way to combat this reaction is to take a calcium supplement a few hours before consuming 100% wheat bran.
Foods with Oxalates
Swiss chard, spinach, rhubarb, beet greens, and soy are some examples of foods high in oxalates. This substance can bind to the calcium in your body, making the calcium unusable. These foods do have healthy nutrients, so you don’t need to avoid them. You should, however, eat them with other calcium rich choices or use a supplement.
Inflammation can put you at greater risk for osteoporosis, so it’s important to be aware of foods that can increase inflammation. They include white potatoes, mushrooms, tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers. Like legumes, you don’t have to avoid these altogether; they are healthy as long as you make sure you are also taking in adequate amounts of calcium. Fried and processed foods are additional foods which can increase inflammation. These should be avoid altogether.
This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support. Reprinted with permission: Worried about Your Bones During Menopause? Skip These 6 Foods