It’s no secret that a well-balanced diet is a key component of healthy aging, but a lesser-known fact is that our bodies lose the ability to absorb essential vitamins and minerals as we age. Although many of us take them for granted, our bones -- just like any other part of the body -- are greatly affected by this change as we age. That’s why osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones, is a common health problem among older adults.
While age is one of the biggest risk factors for osteoporosis, brittle bones don’t have to be a normal part of aging. In fact, incorporating bone-boosting foods into your diet is one of the best ways you can combat osteoporosis symptoms and maintain healthy bones as you age.
Know The Osteoporosis Symptoms To Look For
In order to understand what causes osteoporosis, we must first understand the composition of human bone. Bones are made up of living cells that are constantly being broken down and replaced. When these cells cannot create new bone as fast as the old bone is removed, however, the bones become weak and osteoporosis occurs.
Although there are rarely any warning signs when this condition first develops, the following osteoporosis symptoms may appear once your bones have been weakened, according to Mayo Clinic:
- Back pain
- Loss of height
- Stooped posture
- A bone fracture that occurs more easily than it should
Osteoporosis symptoms tend to be painful, which is why you should ask your doctor about your osteoporosis risk if you went through early menopause, if either of your parents experienced hip fractures, or if you’re noticing any signs that you aren’t getting enough good nutrients.
While there are risk factors for osteoporosis that you cannot control, like your age, gender and family history, you can control which foods you consume. Not only will a well-balanced diet benefit your overall health as you age, but it’s also one of the best ways to strengthen your bones.
The Best & Worst Foods for Osteoporosis
When it comes to promoting healthy bones, not all foods were created equal. And according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, the best and worst foods that combat osteoporosis symptoms include:
The Best Foods for Osteoporosis
- Dairy products (low-fat and nonfat milk, yogurt and cheese)
- Fish (sardines, salmon, mackerel and tuna)
- Vitamin D-fortified foods (check the packages on juices, cereals, snacks and breads for this label)
In addition to including these bone-boosting foods into your diet, consult your doctor to learn if taking multivitamins or supplements will benefit you. Your doctor may also be able to recommend some exercises that will ease your osteoporosis symptoms.
The Worst Foods for Osteoporosis
While the foods outlined above are packed with nutrients that promote healthy bones, there are some foods you should avoid if you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis:
- Beans, spinach and legumes
- Salty foods (consume less than 2,300mg of sodium a day)
- Wheat bran
- Alcohol (limit consumption to two or three drinks a day)
- Caffeine (coffee, tea and sodas)
Healthy Bones, Healthy Aging
If you suffer from osteoporosis, you are much more likely to break a bone or experience a hip fracture after falling. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 300,000 older adults are hospitalized for hip fractures every year, which directly impacts your ability to safely age in place. But with a Medical Guardian medical alert device, you can rest assured that help is just the push of a button away should you fall or experience another emergency.