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What foods should you avoid if you have osteoporosis?

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Quick Answer

To improve bone health due to osteoporosis, avoid caffeine, coffee, tea, alcohol and soda, as the National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends. Watch your salt and protein intake, and limit foods high in oxalic acid (such as spinach) and phytates (including legumes and wheat bran).

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What foods should you avoid if you have osteoporosis?
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Full Answer

Caffeine, alcohol and phosphorous (in the form of soft drinks and sodas) may all contribute to bone loss, which is why they are at the top of the list of foods to avoid for those suffering from osteoporosis. They don't have to be completely avoided, however, if you are diligent at getting enough bone-building calcium in your diet. The National Health Service recommends limiting alcohol intake to three to four drinks for men or two to three drinks for women.

Phytates interfere with your body's ability to absorb calcium, and the phytates in wheat bran can actually diminish your body's ability to absorb calcium from other foods eaten at the same time. If you eat wheat bran, it's good to do so separately from calcium and calcium supplements. Monitor your protein intake; too much causes your body to lose calcium, while too little is also harmful for your bones. Choose foods that balance protein with calcium, like dairy products, according to the NOF.

Help counteract bone-depleting foods and beverages with calcium-rich foods, such as dairy, fish and dark leafy green vegetables. Beverages fortified with calcium and vitamin D can also help support healthy bones, suggests the NOF.

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