Many older adults, especially women, worry about developing osteoporosis later in life. As we age, our bones naturally become thinner because we aren’t making bone as fast as we did when we were young. Osteoporosis occurs when you lose too much bone, make too little bone, or both. Women are at an increased risk of osteoporosis, as the decreased estrogen from completing menopause can increase bone loss.
There is no cure for osteoporosis, but you can take steps to prevent it or reduce its severity. Daily weight-bearing exercises, eating a healthy diet, and reducing your consumption of processed foods are among those positive steps.
Get Enough Calcium, Vitamins & Minerals
It’s an age-old advice that we always heard from our mothers: if you want strong bones, drink your milk! But did you know that you need more than just calcium for strong bones? You also need:
These vitamins and minerals help increase bone development and bone mass, and can be found in foods like:
- Dark leafy greens, like spinach
- Red and green peppers
- Salmon and other fatty fish
Vitamin D is known for calcium absorption and is primarily secured through sun exposure. You can also get it from fortified foods and fatty fish, but it’s often not enough, so make sure you’re getting enough sun.
Reduce Sodium & Don’t Eat Too Much Protein
Reducing the sodium in your diet is not only important for reducing your chances of stroke and cardiovascular disease, but protecting your bones. When you consume too much sodium, it leads to what is known as hypercalcemia—or excess calcium in your urine. The same goes for protein—while it helps with your bone’s density, eating too much can cause calcium loss, especially if you’re not getting enough calcium in your diet.
To reduce your sodium intake, eliminate the amount of processed foods you eat and think twice before reaching for the salt shaker. In addition, make sure you get enough, but not too much, protein in your diet. If you have any questions or concerns, consult your doctor.