Make Healthy Diet Substitutions
Fortified Juice Instead of Soda
It’s no secret that sugary soda is terrible for you, and evidence shows the negative effects reach right down to your bones. However, it’s not the carbonation that’s the biggest problem, but rather the phosphoric acid (and caffeine) that accompanies it. Since phosphoric acid and caffeine can promote calcium excretion in your urine, these drinks keep the all-important mineral from reaching your bones and cells.
Generally, the sugar-laden and artificially-flavored soda waters are more problematic than natural carbonated mineral water, but it’s best to check the ingredient label before assuming you’re in the clear. Aside from taking in a good amount of fresh water each day, you may want to include a small glass or two of calcium-fortified orange juice to treat your taste buds while you boost your bones.
Leafy Greens Instead of Potatoes
Not only are green veggies packed with far more nutrients than their light-colored cousins, many of them are high in calcium — and more calcium is always a good thing when you have thinning bones. Spinach, collard greens, and turnip or beet greens should make regular appearances on your weekly menu. Broccoli is a calcium powerhouse, too.
A half cup of makes a serving, but it’s difficult to go overboard here; why not sub out your calorie-packed starch for an extra helping of greens? Their high fiber content will also keep you fuller for longer than easily digested carbohydrates like rice and potatoes.
Herbs Instead of Salt
Experts agree that too much salt promotes calcium loss through the urine, and some of that calcium will come directly from the bones. In fact, reducing your salt intake from 10 grams a day to 5 grams a day could have as much of an impact on your hip bone density as increasing your daily calcium by 1000 mg.
But giving up salt doesn’t have to mean giving up flavor. When you’re cooking at home (which you should aim to do most of the time), switch out that extra shake of salt for an extra clove of garlic, a dash of chili or cumin, or a handful of fresh flat parsley or chives. These ingredients pack a big punch in a small pinch, which should help you round out your dishes without resorting to sodium.
Since it’s difficult to get all the calcium you need in food and drink alone, bolster your healthier diet with a calcium and vitamin D supplement. Talk to your doctor about the best form and the right amount for your needs, and make it part of your osteoporosis medication regimen.
There’s plenty you can do to prevent a nasty fall in your home. You may not need a device to help you walk around, but consider making things easier on yourself with some clever additions and smart organization:
- Low-heeled shoes offer more stability, especially if they have non-slip soles.
- Put grab bars wherever you need them, from the bathroom to the bedroom and front hallway
- Keep floors clear of clutter, and get rid of loose area rugs, so you don’t have to worry about lifting your feet more than necessary.
You doctor is definitely one of your best allies — keep in close contact, and bring up any concerns promptly. Some medications can cause dizziness or loss of balance, putting you at risk for a fall, so you need to know if any of your other prescribed drugs might be working against you. Your doctor will also conduct periodic bone mineral density tests according to your extent of bone loss and other unique health factors.