The thought of a broken bone — the cast, long recovery, missed activities, limited mobility, extra cost, rehabilitation — is especially frightening to older people. It takes longer for older bones to heal. And, many seniors — especially older women — are at a heightened risk for broken bones because of osteoporosis. But, good news: there are ways you can protect your bones. In this post, you’ll learn what yogurt, coffee, and clutter have to do with healthy bones.
1. Make up for age-related bone loss — get more calcium! Women are particularly vulnerable to broken bones. They reach their peak bone mass by age 30. When estrogen levels drop off naturally after menopause, bones are depleted of calcium, and that weakens them. To maintain strong bones, get more calcium. According to a story in Prevention, women need 1,200 mg of calcium daily (compared to 1,000 mg for premenopausal women). Some excellent food sources include dairy (yogurt, milk, cheese) dark, leafy greens, sardines, and fortified cereals and juices. A 500 mg calcium supplement is also a good move.
2. Prevent accidents — clean up clutter, install night lights, slow down! There are plenty of steps you can take to help prevent falls at home. Keep your house free of any clutter that could cause you to trip. Secure area rugs. Install night-lights to make it easier to see in the dark. And, slow down! “There’s no need to rush,” Ethel Siris, MD, director of the Toni Stabile Center for Osteoporosis at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center told Prevention. Going too fast is a big cause of falls.
3. Cut back on caffeine. Research highlighted in Prevention found that high doses of coffee can lead to increased risk of hip fractures in older women. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends having no more than 300 mg of caffeine a day, or the amount in two – three 8-ounce cups of coffee. Carefully monitor your caffeine consumption — it can come from cola, chocolate — even certain medications contain high levels of caffeine.
For more tips on how to protect your bones, please see Prevention’s feature, “12 Ways To Break-Proof Your Bones”.