By Monica Kubizniak, Dietitian
Can you reduce your risk of osteoporosis by avoiding caffeine, eating more greens and reducing salt intake?
The answer is yes…possibly. The research on osteoporosis is growing and there are many dietary links that seem to impact on the strength of your bones.
As most of us are aware, adequate calcium intake is crucial for bone health and so is getting enough vitamin D. In Australia, the best ways to synthesize vitamin D is safe exposure to sunshine as well as supplements, as food sources have low amounts of it. Have you ever had your vitamin D levels checked by a simple blood test? Many of my clients are surprised to find they have low levels and supplementation can usually fix the problem.
For optimal bone health, it may be helpful to avoid excessive caffeine (as suggested by Kiel’s epidemiological study). Recommended consumption of caffeine should be less than 300 mg per day. This equates to 2 to 4 cups of coffee. This is of course dependent on how strong your cup of coffee is and typically will change depending on whether it is instant coffee or one you have purchased from a barista.
Reducing salt intake can minimise calcium loss through the kidneys and urine. The average Australian eats 9 grams of salt per day but we only need 1 to 2 grams to function properly. An initial aim would be to reduce salt intake to 4 to 6 grams per day. The links between salt intake, hypertension and bone loss are very interesting (see link).
Research has suggested that animal protein can be linked to bone loss as acid is produced during metabolism. This remains a little controversial, and a good discussion of this is available on the Osteoporosis Canada website. Eating more plant foods such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, pulses (food group comprising beans, peas & lentils) and wholegrains may slow down calcium loss.
Please feel free to ask your questions on osteoporosis or share your strategies on maintaining good bone strength.
Monica Kubizniak is a dietitian at BJC Health.
BJC Health provides a connected care multidisciplinary team philosophy to deliver positive lifestyle outcomes through a holistic approach to those with degenerative & inflammatory arthritis, tendon injury and lifestyle diseases. Our clinics are located in Parramatta, Chatswood and Brookvale. Contact us.
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Stop Press: Stopping recurrent fractures after suffering a fracture from weak bones (osteoporosis) is a priority. We are going to run a Refracture Prevention Program at our Parramatta rooms to try & stop bones breaking.