Aging is tough on our bones. As we grow older, we begin to lose bone mass. Experts say bone loss can actually begin as early as age 30. Weakened bones can lead to serious issues like fractures and falls.
An estimated 10 million people in this country live with osteoporosis, a disease which reduces the density and quality of a person’s bones. As many as 1.5 million adults experience a bone fracture each year, including 300,000 fractured hips. Women are at higher risk for bone loss, as are people who consume a poor diet.
What can you do to keep your bones and your senior loved ones healthy as you age?
A great first step is to make smart food choices.
Better Nutrition for Building Better Bones
- Drink your milk: Milk and some dairy products contain the right mix of calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is necessary for healthy bones, while vitamin D is needed to help the body better absorb calcium. If you don’t consume enough calcium in your daily diet, your body will leech it from your bones. That contributes to bone loss. So make foods like milk, kefir, yogurt, and cheese a part of your daily diet.
- Eat leafy greens: There is research indicating that vitamin K may play an important role in building bone health. Researchers have found that Vitamin K2 may activate several important proteins in the blood that help bind calcium to bones making them stronger. It is found in leafy green vegetables like romaine, spinach, and kale.
- Well-balanced protein: Protein is another food group that can promote bone health, but it can be a little bit tricky to balance. Consuming too much of it—especially from meat products—may cause the body to excrete too much calcium. Not eating enough protein might result in the body not having the minerals it needs to absorb calcium. Experts say the average person needs 54−68 grams of protein per day, but check with your personal physician for more individualized advice.
Exercise Builds Bone and Muscle Strength
Weight and resistance training can pump up more than just your biceps—they can increase bone mass, too. As the bone is stressed during a workout, the body responds by sending signals to bone cells to create new bone. The result is denser, stronger bones.
At Sunrise communities, physical activity is a part of everyday life. Live With Action is one of our signature programs. Watch a video of one of our fitness classes to see Live with Action at work!
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