Nearly one in four Americans have a musculoskeletal condition that requires medical attention; many of these Americans are senior citizens. In fact, nearly 44 million Americans (mainly older women) struggle with the effects of osteoporosis while others struggle with conditions, such as joint pain and arthritis. It is even more important to note that these bone conditions are much more likely to affect older females than males. What can you do to fight the complications that often come along with aging bones? The answer is simple: better nutrition.
- Receive adequate protein in your diet. Research suggests that adequate protein in your diet can help to increase bone mineral density while reducing your risk of developing fractures. Dietary protein can help to build as well as maintain muscle mass. This is important in protecting joints and bones as well as making your bones and joints stronger. Strong bones are a necessity for weight bearing activities. You should be sure to consume foods such as eggs, lean meats, salmon, soy, beans and legumes on a daily basis.
- Eliminate soda from your diet. Drinks that are high in sugar can impair the growth of bone cells as well as strength and the ability of your bones to repair themselves should they become injured. Too many carbonated beverages are associated with a significant decrease in bone mineral density in both males and females alike. As a senior citizen, you are going to want to consider replacing soda with water, orange juice, milk and other beverages fortified with calcium. Ditching the sugary drinks can go a long ways in protecting your bones and joints.
- Consume plenty of calcium. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and is also the most important nutrient when it comes to the health of your bones. Calcium also plays a key role in the process of muscle contraction, the regulation of your heart bet, regulation of blood pressure, helps to boost your immune system and plays an important role in the transmission of nerve impulses. As you age, getting adequate amounts of calcium can help to decrease your risk of developing osteoporosis and help to keep your muscles working as they should. To get an adequate supply of calcium be sure to consume cheese, milk, broccoli, yogurt, kale and calcium-fortified foods.
- Remember the sunshine vitamin. Vitamin D is very important to the health of your bones. Vitamin D helps your body to properly use and absorb calcium, which means stronger, healthier bones. Vitamin D can be absorbed through sun exposure and found n fish, egg yolks and vitamin D fortified foods.
- Try supplements. If you aren’t sure you are getting adequate nutrition through the foods you consume daily, talk to your doctor about the possibility of taking a supplement. If you have a vitamin or nutrient deficiency, supplements can be used to enhance the health of your skeletal as well as muscular system.
Remember, nutrition is just one part of maintaining strong, healthy bones as you age. Fitness and maintaining a healthy lifestyle (such as no smoking) are also very important!