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“We walk on our calcium stores."

Healthy bones form the foundation for a vital energetic life; they provide mobility, protection and support. It is beyond doubt that a balanced diet, adequate calcium intake, regular exercise, avoiding smoking and sun exposure promote bone health.

However, matters related to some foods remain controversial.

Protein? Just what I need!

Proteins are the building blocks of our bodies and adequate protein intake is essential for bone health. Insufficient protein intake is detrimental both for acquisition of bone mass during childhood and maintenance of bone mass in adults.

On the other hand, Some studies have indicated that diets very high in protein, especially from animal sources, can increase calcium excretion, but recent studies show that protein on the contrary increases calcium absorption and the body absorbs more calcium when the diet is adequate in protein.

So what is adequate? It is getting enough; no more, no less.

Coffee? Why not!

Caffeine does produce a small increase in calcium excretion from the body.  Having a cup of coffee temporarily increases calcium excretion, but the body compensates by decreasing calcium excretion 2 to 3 hours later, so the net effect on calcium is unchanged. So in moderation 2-3 cups of coffee a day has no effect on bone health as long as the diet is adequate in calcium to start with (contains about 1000 mg per day).

How about carbonated beverages? I’ll think about it!

Carbonated beverages contain phosphoric acid which has been controversial when it comes to bone health. However, recent studies have shown that the net effect of phosphoric acid on our calcium stores is negligible, especially when the diet is adequate in calcium.

Yet the main concerns regarding bone health are its over-consumption and the fact that carbonated beverages are replacing calcium-rich drinks like milk, especially in children and young adults.

More salt? No thanks!

Sodium and calcium are excreted together from the body through the kidneys and perspiration, so the more we add salt, the more it will increase our calcium loss through the kidneys. So go easy on the salt.

To maintain healthy bones, adopt healthy lifestyle habits, choose sensibly, and most importantly, consume a healthy, balanced and varied diet that provides the recommended amount of calcium along with vitamin D. And it goes without saying, don’t forget to exercise regularly.

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