One in two women over the age of 50 are likely to break a bone at some point, due to age-related complications such as osteoporosis. Bone mass in women is at its strongest around the age 30. Later, once menopause occurs, estrogen levels drop – depleting your calcium level and contributing to bone loss. Here are five important steps which can help you keep your bones strong throughout your golden years.
Get enough calcium
Calcium is absolutely essential when it comes to maintaining bone health and building bone mass . Once women have passed the age of 50, their daily calcium intake should be at least 1200 mg per day. Yogurt, milk, sardines, salmon, cheese, and fortified cereals are all great sources of calcium. Be sure to add green vegetables like broccoli, kale and bok choy to the mix – they help increase your body’s natural ability to absorb calcium. If you suspect you aren’t getting enough calcium, check with your Doctor about adding a supplement.
Vitamin D can help your bones absorb calcium. It’s recommended that women over age 50 consume 800 IUs per day. The following foods can all provide you with the Vitamin D you need to feel sunny all week long:
- Cod liver oil (1360 IUs per Tbsp.)
- Salmon (447 IUs in 3 oz.)
- Eggs (44 IUs per yolk)
- Yogurt (88 IUs per 6 oz.)
- Canned tuna (154 IUs per 3 oz.)
- Milk (124 IUs per cup)
Fifteen minutes of direct exposure to sunlight can cause your body to produce up to 20,00 IUs of Vitamin D. Talk about a great reason to head south for winter!
Sign up for Yoga class
Yoga stretches and poses can help to restore bone density. In a recent study, seniors who had experienced bone loss practiced Yoga for ten minutes each day over a period of two years. When compared to the study’s control group of non-Yoga practicing seniors, those that incorporated Yoga into their lifestyles showed increased bone density to their spines and hips. The non-Yoga group continued to show bone loss.
Yoga classes have become increasingly popular in senior homes all over North America! Besides assisting with bone density, Yoga also helps improve your balance and flexibility, which in turn reduces the risk of falls that may cause broken bones.
Get a bone density test
Do you know if you are at risk of osteoporosis? Unfortunately, most of us don’t. The best way to find out is to ask your Doctor for a bone scan. If you’re a woman over the age of 65, it may be time for you to schedule a bone density test. If you’re 50+ and have had a fall which has resulted in a broken bone, you may wish to get a bone density test as well.
Adopt a Mediterranean style diet
Women who include olive oil, fish and a minimal amount of red meat to their diets have greater bone density than those that do not. Maintaining a Mediterranean diet also reduces your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Try replacing vegetable oil with 8 to 10 teaspoons of olive oil daily, and incorporate 3 weekly servings of fish into your diet. Limit red meat consumption to a single serving a week, and you’ll be well on your way to improved bone health.
Written by Alice Lucette
Image by vmiramontes of Flickr