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For Better Bone Health, Eat This, Not That!

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Bones & Joints related image Photo: Getty Images

If anyone looked at my overall diet, they might wonder how I am still standing. Okay, I am not a horrible eater, but I do not necessarily take the time to make sure I eat a continuously healthy and vitamin-enriched diet. Who has the time? I have three teenage boys, a home, and several writing endeavors to pursue. Eating usually becomes that one last thing to do as opposed to an actual event in my household.

However, I am in my 40s and have to make sure I keep a more solid focus on my health. Fortunately, I exercise every day and have done so since I was 12. At least I have that habit in my favor. However, that habit should be consciously paired with a well-balanced diet. In researching a variety of foods, I discovered a list of the top six that can essentially wreak havoc on our bones. Sadly, I enjoy most of these foods that should be either avoided, or, at the very least, drastically minimized.

Number one on the list – and no surprise here – is salt. This dietary staple pulls an appreciable amount of calcium from the bones. For every 2,300 milligrams of sodium you consume, you lose roughly 40 milligrams of calcium. The salt-heavy diets in America are not doing us many favors, and reaching for processed foods or the ease of drive-through service won’t do much for the health of your bones. Most of our sodium intake comes not from table salt, but from processed foods, so if you want to strengthen your bones, avoid processed and deli meats, frozen meals, canned soup, and pizza, as well as canned vegetables and fast food.

Soft drinks are a no-no, as well. The phosphoric acid in them that creates that refreshing fizziness comes like a thief in the night, robbing your bones of the calcium you need, accelerating the rate at which it is excreted through the urine. Instead of reaching for a diet cola, opt for a glass of water, milk, or calcium-enriched orange juice. Satisfy your cravings for something sweet with a yogurt-infused fruit smoothie.

Next up on the chopping block is caffeine. Luckily, I am not a coffee drinker, and I rarely drink tea.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.