When you have a chronic digestive condition, your system absorbs fewer nutrients than normal. Add calcium-depleting corticosteroids, and you’ve got a one way ticket to OsteoporosisTown, population: 1.
So what’s a digestively-challenged person to do?
1) Eat these foods.
Dairy is most often praised as a source rich in calcium, but people with chronic digestive diseases are often lactose-intolerant! Don’t worry – there are plenty of other calcium-rich foods. You can eat sardines with soft bones (350mg per can), tofu (250 mg per serving), collard greens (225 mg per serving), kelp, figs, and almonds. These foods contain more calcium than a 1/2 cup of plain yogurt! Show’s over, dairy.
2) Avoid these foods.
The following foods inhibit calcium absorption: animal protein, wheat bran, salt, sugar, soft drinks, and alcohol. Because these foods are so popular in the U.S., the majority of the American population is consuming only 50% of their RDA requirement. Suddenly that hamburger and Coke isn’t looking so hot.
3) Don’t smoke.
Tobacco also inhibits calcium absorption, accelerating bone loss. The Marlboro Man probably had to get hip replacement surgery.
Calcium supplements alone will not build strong bones. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center found that only a combination of exercise and calcium supplementation makes a difference in your bone density. Find an exercise routine you enjoy and stick to it. Tennis, anyone?
5) Take calcium supplements.
If you follow the other four steps, these little pills will help beef up your bones. Check out our ultimate guide to calcium supplements.