With aging comes an increased risk for bone loss and a disease known as osteoporosis. This condition causes bones to become porous and less dense. The result is a high risk for bone fractures. Because it is largely a symptomless disease, you may not realize you have it. A broken bone is often the first sign of osteoporosis.
Risk Factors for Osteoporosis
Besides age, additional risk factors for osteoporosis include smoking, being female, and having low body weight. A sedentary lifestyle can also increase your odds of developing it.
As is true of many health issues, taking preventative measures is key to avoiding osteoporosis. Exercising on a regular basis, including light weight training, can keep your bones stronger. Diet also plays an important role. Sometimes it’s what you eat that helps, other times it is knowing what foods to avoid.
How Food Choices Impact Your Risk for Osteoporosis
Calcium is essential for building and maintaining healthy bones. If you don’t get enough of it, your body will eventually pull calcium from your bones and teeth. The result is a loss of bone density.
It’s also vital to get the nutrients necessary for the body to absorb calcium. Vitamin D and magnesium are two crucial ones. While vitamin D doesn’t occur naturally in many foods, it is created when the body is exposed to sunlight. Magnesium assists vitamin D in improving calcium absorption. Vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium and zinc, also help in the absorption process.
What foods should you avoid to protect your bones and which ones should you incorporate into your diet?
Let’s start with those that you should avoid:
- Soda and carbonated drinks
- Alcoholic beverages
- Caffeinated foods and beverages
- Foods with high-salt content
- Foods containing phytates (peas, kidney beans, pinto beans)
The foods that aid in building and protecting bone mass are plentiful. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, protein, fruits, and vegetables are all necessary parts of a bone-healthy diet:
- Lean red meat
- Fortified breakfast cereals
- Oily fish (salmon, sardines and mackerel)
- Sweet potatoes
- Fresh figs
- Almond butter
- Fortified juice
- Red and green pepper
- Brussel sprouts
Screening for Osteoporosis
One final suggestion is to work with your primary care physician on a plan for how often you should be screened for osteoporosis. The general guideline suggests that women over age 65 and men age 70 and older should be screened, but the frequency will likely depend on the results of the first test.
The standard screening is a dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, also referred to as a bone density test. It is the only test that can detect osteoporosis before a broken bone occurs. It can estimate the density of your bones and your risk for experiencing a fracture.
Sunrise Senior Living Promotes Healthy Living
At Sunrise communities, we are committed to offering the programs and services residents need to live their healthiest life. We invite you to schedule a personal tour to learn how we do that. Call 888-434-4648 to set up a convenient time!