You may notice that your appearance begins to change as time goes on—just a few wrinkles, new hair, or improved style (what were we thinking 10 years ago?). But your bones are actually busy growing and breaking down. Bone mass peaks at age 30 and then begins to decline steadily after age 40.
If you’re losing your density too quickly, you could be more susceptible to osteoporosis, which weakens and thins the bones, sometimes resulting in fractures. Fortunately, with your lifestyle choices such as exercise and eating habits, you do have some control over how fast or slow your bones break down.
According to specialists, here are three eating habits to avoid that accelerate bone loss.
1 — Avoid soft drinks.
Phosphoric acid, a tangy additive in many soft drinks, especially colas, is one of the most common sources of bone loss. If you enjoy drinking Coca-Cola®, it may be contributing to bone loss.
The body breaks down calcium from tissue like bones and teeth to reduce blood phosphorus levels when blood phosphorous levels are high (hyperphosphatemia).
It’s vital to prevent or treat osteoporosis as soon as possible, since this bone loss can lead to major problems. According to a 12-year study published in Menopause, women who consume more than 2 servings of soft drinks each day had a 26% higher risk of hip fracture than those who didn’t drink soda.
Consider switching to soda water like Aha, Bubbly, or LA Croix to lower your intake of phosphorous from soda. “Not a fan of soda water? Make the effort to buy smaller cans of soda pop and gradually decrease your consumption,” adds Akhaphong.
2 — Limit sodium.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that highly processed and salt-rich meals might be harmful to your health.
“Eating a diet high in salt can not only raise your blood pressure, but it can also increase your risk of osteoporosis,” explains Toby Smithson, RD, founder of DiabetesEveryDay.
Too much salt, on the other hand, can harm your bones. Calcium is withdrawn from bones to maintain the body’s acid-base balance in a healthy range if too much salt is consumed.
3 — Don’t pass up the calcium and vitamin D.
Your bones are home to almost all of your body’s calcium. As a result, it’s no surprise that not consuming enough calcium can have an impact on bone health. Adults require about 1,000 milligrams of calcium each day, which increases to 1,200 milligrams daily after the age of 51.
Without enough vitamin D, your body will have a hard time absorbing and utilizing the calcium you consume. Vitamin D is also essential for bone development, as the cells that regulates it require it to function. Each day, adults should consume 15 micrograms of vitamin D.