Our bones are so much more than “dry bones.” They are a component of our structural function, our form, mobility, and immune function. Without good bone health as we age, our health becomes vulnerable and can even deteriorate. Often bones break which cause falls which can seriously affect our health.
One third of adults over 65 fall every year. 70% of fractures are incurred by adults 65 and older. Bone health and integrity is critical to our physical stability and balance. http://www.iofbonehealth.org/facts-and-statistics.html
There are several basic and simple steps those of us over 60 can take to keep our bones strong and resilient.
1. Stay or become physically active.
Being physically active doesn't mean you have to “exercise” in any formal way. Doing work around the house, gardening, walking, bike riding or house cleaning are all excellent ways to keep moving and stimulating bone strength.
2. Consume mineral-rich foods.
Our bones are comprised of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, manganese, zinc, iron, silica, and many other trace minerals. Our bones need all of these, not just calcium to keep them healthy. Eating mineral-rich food is an easy way to get the minerals we need for bone health.
Dark leafy green vegetables, seafoods such as sardines with the bone in, and plant-based foods are the most mineral-rich foods that we can eat. They also contain high levels of calcium as well.
3. Supplement vitamin D
Adequate amounts of vitamin D must be present in your body for calcium in your foods to be optimally absorbed and used. The work of the Harvard School of Public Health, led under the direction of Walter Willett, MD, DrPH, shows that Vitamin D can be easily supplemented with tablets and are an important part in preventing many disease states as well as contributing to good bone health.
4. Learn how to effectively manage emotional stress.
Emotional stress can elevate the level of cortisol in the blood. Cortisol is useful in short term stress, however, if it remains elevated it can cause bone matrix to weaken.
5. Regularly eat foods that are rich in vitamin C.
Collagen, a fibrous protein provides bones with tensile strength. To synthesize collagen, we need adequate amounts of vitamin C. Some excellent food sources of real vitamin C are:
- Bell peppers
- Citrus fruits
- Brussels sprouts
With little effort, you can keep your bones healthy and happy, prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures and enjoy the pleasure of productive activities.
- Dr. Georgianna Donadio