Bad to the Bones: What to Avoid for Bone Health
1. Too Much Salt

The more salt you eat, the more calcium your body gets rid of, which means it’s not there to help
your bones. Foods like breads, cheeses, chips, and cold cuts have some of the highest counts.

You don’t have to cut salt out entirely, but aim for less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day.

2. Binge Watching

It’s fine to enjoy your favorite show. But it’s way too easy to spend endless hours in front a screen,
nestled on your couch. When it becomes a habit to lounge, you don’t move enough and your bones
miss out.

Exercise makes them stronger. It’s best for your skeleton when your feet and legs carry the weight
of your body, which forces your bones and muscles to work against gravity.

3. Miles of Bike Rides

When you pedal to work or ride for hours on the weekend, your heart and lungs get stronger. Your
bones? Not so much. Because it’s not a weight-bearing activity, bike riding does not increase your
bone density, unlike walks, runs, and hikes.

4. Too Much Time in Your “Cave”

Maybe you need to get out more. The body makes vitamin D in sunlight. Just 10-15 minutes several
times a week could do it. But don’t overdo it. Too much time in the sun can raise your risk of skin
cancer. And there are some other catches, too.

Your age, skin color, the time of year, and where you live can make it harder to make vitamin D. So
can sunscreen.

Add fortified cereals, juices, and milks (including almond, soy, riceor other plant-based milks, as well as low-fat dairy) to your diet.

5. Overdoing Some Drinks

Too many cola-flavored sodas could harm your bones. While more research is needed, some studies
have linked bone loss with both the caffeine and the phosphorous in these beverages. Other experts
have suggested that the damage comes when you choose to have a soda instead of milk or other
drinks that contain calcium. Too many cups of coffee or tea can also rob your bones of calcium.

6. Bowls of Wheat Bran With Milk

What sounds healthier than 100% wheat bran? But when you eat it with milk, your body absorbs
less calcium.

Don’t worry about other foods, like bread, that might contain wheat bran. But if you’re a fan of the
concentrated stuff and you take a calcium supplement, allow at least 2 hours between the bran and
your pill.

7. Smoke Breaks

When you regularly inhale cigarette smoke, your body can’t form new healthy bone tissue as easily.
The longer you smoke, the worse it gets.

Smokers have a greater chance of breaks and take longer to heal. But if you quit, you can lower
these risks and improve your bone health, though it might take several years.

8. Your Prescriptions

Some medications, especially if you have to take them for a long time, can have a negative impact
on your bones. Some anti-seizure drugs and glucocorticoids, like prednisone and cortisone, can
cause bone loss. You might take anti-inflammatory drugs like glucocorticoids if you have conditions
such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, asthma, and Crohn’s disease.

9. Being Underweight

A low body weight, a BMI of 18.5 or less, means a greater chance of fracture and bone loss. If you’re
small-boned, do weight-bearing exercises and ask your doctor if you need more calcium in your diet.
If you’re not sure why you’re underweight, ask your doctor about that, too. She can check to see if
an eating disorder or another medical condition is the reason.

10. If You Take a Tumble

When you tripped as a child, you probably got right back up again. As you get older, though, falls get
more dangerous, especially if you have weak bones.

A fracture or broken bone can take a long time to heal. In older adults, it can often be the start of a
decline that’s hard to come back from. Walk easier at home with safety features like grab bars and
non-slip mats. Clear the clutter from your path, indoors and out, to avoid a misstep.

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