Seniors – Take Care of Your Bones
“I have fallen, and I can’t get up.” You probably remember the catch-phrase spoken by an elderly woman in a TV commercial for a medical alarm system made popular decades ago. It was a highly successful campaign and helped raise awareness about senior health and mobility.
If you took a fall, would you be able to get up? Are your bones strong enough to withstand an impact like falling out of bed or tripping on a crack in the sidewalk? Are you at risk for a bone disease also known as osteoporosis?
An estimated 40 million people in the United States have osteoporosis, or are at risk for developing the disease, according to the National Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center. It’s a disease that progressively weakens the bones, causes tissue loss, and makes the bones more fragile and brittle.
“It’s a disease that often goes unnoticed until the first sign occurs – a broken bone,” says registered dietitian Lindsay Adams.
As you age, your risk for osteoporosis increases for a couple of reasons. Seniors are generally less active than they once were, which means their bones and muscles don’t get as much exercise as they used to. Older adults also absorb less bone-strengthening vitamins like vitamin D and calcium from food sources than they once did.
Fortunately, there are several ways you can take care of your bones as you age:
Exercise. Exercise like walking, jogging, cycling and other activity that forces your muscles to work helps strengthen your bones. Aim to get 30 to 60 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days a week.
Eat healthy foods. Vitamin D and calcium are both essential nutrients your bones need to be strong and healthy. Dark-leafy greens like kale, broccoli and spinach are good sources of calcium. Low-fat dairy foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt are too. And some soy products, cereals, and juices are fortified with calcium. Good sources of vitamin D include 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure, as well as foods like mushrooms, fortified cereals, and eggs.
At MagicKitchen.com, we’ve made eating the right foods to strengthen your bones and improve your health easy with Meal Plans for Seniors. Take a look at the selection, and you’ll find healthy meals rich in vitamin D and calcium to support your bones like Italian Style Chicken Breast with Orzo & Spinach, Three Cheese Ravioli & Spinach Alfredo, Chicken & Apple Curry With Jasmine Rice & Broccoli, and many others.
Avoid drinking too much alcohol, consuming excessive amounts of caffeine or sodium, and smoking. Alcohol, caffeine, sodium, and smoking all contribute to osteoporosis and can limit your body’s ability to absorb vitamin D, calcium, and other nutrients your bones need to be strong.
“Whether you’re 15 or 50, it’s never too late to start taking care of your bones,” says Adams. “After all, we are only given one set; we have to do our part to make them last.”