Osteoporosis is a common problem many seniors face as bones lose density with aging. Bones with lower density are more susceptible to fractures or breaks, and can be slower to heal after sustaining an injury like that. The good news is that there are many ways aging adults can help shield themselves from losing bone density and suffering osteoporosis, by making simple changes in their diet and lifestyle.
Diet plays an important role in bone strength. Everyone knows that calcium is important for bone health, but also important is vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin B12, protein, magnesium, and many other nutrients. A diet rich in whole foods, so the body gets nutrients in their natural form, is important for seniors. Seniors should aim to “eat the rainbow”, focusing on including colorful fruits and veggies in their meals. Dark green vegetables can be a good source of calcium, and lean proteins and fish containing omega-3s are important as well. Using herbs and spices as flavoring is helpful as well, as salt can interfere with calcium absorption and also be damaging to the heart and kidneys.
Healthy bones can also be supported by weight-bearing exercises. Regular exercise builds and strengthens muscles, and also impacts the bones that those muscles attach to. Weight-bearing exercises such as squats, stair climbing, yoga, pushups, or movements involving resistance bands or free weights will all help to build up and strengthen bones.
Activities promoting balance can be helpful as well. While it might not necessarily strengthen bones, building up balance and coordination can help to reduce the risk of falls.