Certain substances directly interfere with bone building or otherwise damage bone health. Reducing or eliminating those substances from your diet can go a long way in protecting your bone health.

  • Sugar increases the excretion of valuable nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, chromium, copper, zinc and sodium. It also limits calcium absorption, and is highly acid-forming, causing still more mineral loss from bone.
  • Soda, especially cola, contains phosphoric acid, which leaches calcium from bone. It also prevents absorption of magnesium, a key bone-building mineral. Soda’s high sugar content acidifies the body.
  • Sodium, in the form of sodium chloride or table salt, is second only to sugar as the most popular food additive. Salt increases secretion of calcium in the urine. Increasing your calcium intake can help compensate for excess sodium, but any woman consuming more than 2000 mg of sodium per day (the average American consumes 8000 mg per day) can reduce bone breakdown simply by decreasing her salt intake.
  • Protein is necessary for the formation of collagen in bone, but too much dietary protein erodes your bones. Digestion of protein (particularly animal protein) creates acids that must be neutralized with the alkalizing mineral compounds stored in your bones. Most Americans eat far more animal protein than is necessary, and the excess drains your bone of the minerals it needs to remain healthy and strong.
  • Alcohol negatively affects bone health on many levels. It inhibits absorption and increases secretion of calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, zinc and copper. It damages the liver, which can interfere with vitamin D metabolism, and directly decreases the spongy inner trabecular bone.

The good news is that avoiding these substances is a simple way to improve your bone health by immediately reducing the demands on your bones. And you don’t have to totally eliminate them to get some of the benefits. Even reducing your consumption will help limit the negative effects on your bones. The more you avoid dietary excesses, the better for your bones.

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