Seniors - Eat More Fiber to Keep Your Bones Healthy

Ever wonder what helps some seniors stay active well into their golden years, while others struggle with joint pain? There’s more than one reason. Genetics, strength training, decades of a balanced diet and smart lifestyle habits can help.

But what about keeping osteoarthritis at bay? This painful condition caused by deteriorating cartilage in the joints can lead to pain, often in the knees or hips. It’s most common in older adults, and even more common in women than men. An estimated 30 million adults in the United States are living with osteoarthritis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And it can have a serious impact on quality of life.

While there’s a huge market of products, supplements, medications, and medical devices aimed at helping to treat the symptoms of osteoarthritis, it’s better to avoid developing this condition in the first place.

How? It might be as easy as adding more fiber to your diet, according to several recent studies.Two separate studies followed about 6,000 people in total and tracked their eating habits, along with cases of osteoarthritis. Both studies found that eating fiber reduced the risk for osteoarthritis significantly by an estimated 30 to 61 percent.

Did it require eating voluminous amounts of fiber? Not really. People who ate an average of 15 to 19 grams of fiber per day had the lowest risk for osteoarthritis, compared to people who ate less than that. You’ll mostly likely experience even greater health benefits by eating an average of 30 grams of fiber per day as recommended by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Want to reduce your risk for joint pain linked to osteoarthritis? Eat more fiber-rich foods. Some of the best sources for fiber include nuts and seeds, legumes, fruit, whole grains, and non-starchy vegetables. Take a look at our Senior-Friendly menu, and you’ll find fiber rich meals like Beef Lasagna with Peas & Carrots, Chicken Cheese Enchilada with Tomatillo Sauce, Rice & Pinto Beans, Meatloaf & Tomato Sauce, Brown Rice with Peas & Carrots and many others.

Pick one of these high-fiber meals. Start your day with whole-grain cereal. Or add fresh fruit to anyone of your meals, and you’ll be getting the fiber you need in your diet to keep your bones and joints healthy to prevent osteoarthritis.