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World Osteoporosis Day 2020: Foods That Are Bad For Osteoporosis

Every year on 30 October, the World Osteoporosis Day is celebrated globally to raise awareness on the early detection, causes, treatments and preventive measures for this bone condition that affects around 9.65 per cent of postmenopausal women and 8.08 per cent of older men every year. [1]

Osteoporosis is a common chronic metabolic bone disease that mainly affects women, older people and people that belong to Caucasian race. It is characterised by high bone fragility due to low bone mass, disruption in bone microstructure and degradation of bone tissues. Osteoporosis is becoming a global epidemic as it causes a decreased quality of life, financial burden, adjusted life and sometimes, disability. [2]

The major factor that increases osteoporosis risk is diet and nutrition, which is also responsible for its prevention. A number of foods can be the reason for weak bones and need to be limited to prevent osteoporosis. Take a look at the foods which are bad for osteoporosis and must be limited or restricted.


1. Proteins

Proteins make for an essential body nutrient but high amounts of it can increase the risk of osteoporosis. This is not because of the nutrient protein but because of old age. Older people are unable to process protein as efficiently as adults. This increases the acid load in the body and causes erosion of calcium to neutralise the acid. Consume the recommended amount of protein as it also improves bone health and prevents the risk of osteoporosis. [3]

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2. High salt foods

High salt foods such as pizza, fries, frozen meats, canned soups and ham have high sodium content. Too much sodium in the diet can lead to the excretion of calcium through urine and perspiration. Risk of osteoporosis increases in postmenopausal women due to high sodium intake.


3. Caffeinated drinks

Too much of coffee (more than 4-5 cups) in a day increased the risk of bone fractures. A study has shown that daily intake of around 330 mg of caffeine (equals 4 cups) can increase osteoporosis risk, especially in women aged between 40-76. However, the condition is associated with many other lifestyle factors. [4]

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4. Nightshade vegetables

Nightshade vegetables such as bell peppers, tomatoes and eggplants are nutritional but can cause inflammation or exaggerate the inflammatory symptoms in bone-related diseases. The inflammatory nature of nightshades is still controversial as they are also known for their anti-inflammatory properties.

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5. Excess vitamin A

A study talks about negative effects of retinol (a form of vitamin A) on bone mineral density, lumbar and femoral neck. Also, excess dietary or supplement intake of vitamin A can increase the risk of hip fracture. The retinol form of Vitamin A can be found in foods such as liver, egg yolk, dairy products and dietary supplements. [5]


6. Burnt Foods

Advanced Glycation End Products or AGE is naturally present in uncooked animal meats. Grilling, charring, burning, frying or searing these foods accelerates the formation of new AGE formation which is associated with many human diseases Though AGE can be eliminated by antioxidants, a large amount of it can trigger inflammation and cause related diseases such as osteoporosis. [6]

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7. Oxalates

Oxalates are natural compounds found in many plants, especially green leafy veggies such as spinach. This compound binds with minerals like calcium and prevent their absorption into the bones. Legumes like beans are also high in oxalates but are also nutritional. Therefore, it is advised to soak beans for a few hours before consumption to reduce oxalate levels.


8. Wheat Bran

Wheat bran is a kind of food that reduces the absorption of calcium even when eaten along with a calcium-rich food. It contains phytates that interfere with the process of absorption of calcium by the body. [7]

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9. Alcohol

Chronic or excessive consumption of alcohol is associated with compromised bone health and increased risk of osteoporosis. Alcohol interferes with the absorption of calcium and Vitamin D by the bones and decreases bone density and weaken them. [8] Also, the bones do not overcome the damage of early chronic alcoholism, even when it is discontinued later in the years.


10. Omega-6 fatty acids

Some fatty acids like omega-3 have a plethora of health benefits, including bone health. However, other forms like polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acids can encourage inflammation and increase osteoporosis risk, unlike omega-3 fatty acids. [9]

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11. Inorganic fruits and vegetables

Inorganic fruits and vegetables or the one grown by using higher chemicals or pesticides can cause negative effects on bone density in the later stages of life and cause osteoporosis. Not only this bone condition but high pesticide-contaminated foods are also responsible for many other diseases such as infertility and ADHS.


Foods That Can Prevent Osteoporosis Risk

  • Yoghurt
  • Milk
  • Dry fruits
  • Cheese
  • Sardines
  • Eggs
  • Salmon
  • Fortified juices like orange juice