Best and worst foods for osteoporosis

About 10 million Americans have osteoporosis, a disease that makes bones weak and vulnerable to breaking.

Osteoporosis is responsible for about 2 million broken bones each year. But your diet could protect you.

First, get enough calcium. One cup of milk has about 300 milligrams. That’s roughly 30% of your daily goal. Other calcium-rich foods are kale, turnip greens, figs, almonds, salmon, and cheese.

Vitamin D is another important nutrient. It helps your body absorb calcium. Foods like eggs, pork, milk, fatty fish, and fortified cereal are good sources.

Salt is something you should avoid. Studies show postmenopausal women with a high-salt diet lose more bone minerals. For every 2,300 milligrams of sodium, you take in, about 40 milligrams of calcium is lost in the urine. Adults should limit their sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams per day. That’s about one teaspoon of table salt.

Experts say if you haven’t been focused on your bone health, it’s never too late to get started.

“Some people tell me you know, I’m 75, I’m 80 I haven’t done these things all my life what good is it going to do to start now?’ and I say those are the people who have the most to gain,” said Geriatrician Elizabeth Eckstrom.

Carbonated soft drinks are another problem if you have weak bones. Many contain phosphoric acid, which can promote calcium loss from the body. Caffeine also strips calcium from bones.

Research is mixed about how foods that contain soy affect bone health. Some studies show soy can cause issues with bone strength, while others show the right type of soy may protect bones. If you consume a lot of soy, be sure to get at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day.