As you age, your bones become weaker, making you prone to falls and breaks. If you are an older female and you have a fair complexion and slim body type, you may have an increased risk of developing osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease associated with the aging process that involves the gradual loss of bone content or bone mass. As the aging process occurs, old bone cells are replaced with new bone cells in a process known as remodeling. However, after the age of 50, the old bone is not replaced with new bone with the same frequency, causing a net loss of bone mineral content. This process causes the weight-bearing of the spine, hips, and wrists to become weakened and prone to fracture. For effective osteoporosis prevention and fall prevention, there are a few foods I recommend you eat to help protect your bones as you age.
Soy beans are plants that contain several key chemicals called isoflavones. The chemicals genistein and daidzein are quite unique, because their intake has also been known to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Soy isoflavones are thought to mimic the action of estrogen in the female body; this activity slows down the degree of bone loss attributed to aging. Include more soy in your diet for osteoporosis prevention and fall prevention.
Foods made from soy beans can be found in most natural food stores and typically comprise meat alternatives, tempeh, soy milk products, and tofu products. About one cup of soybeans contains 300 mg of isoflavones. Soy beans are also a good source of protein, fiber, and lignans, which have been shown to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. My recommendation is to consume at least the equivalent of one cup of soy beans per day for fall prevention and osteoporosis prevention.
Yogurt is made from various types of milk and is a great source of protein and calcium. These nutrients are important for fall prevention and osteoporosis prevention. Low-fat yogurt can contain over 400 mg of calcium per eight-ounce serving.
Since women need an average of 1,000–1,300 mg of calcium per day, eating one to two servings of yogurt per day can greatly improve your calcium intake and ensure you’re getting your daily recommended amount of calcium, a vital nutrient for fall prevention and osteoporosis prevention.
Green Leafy Vegetables
These vegetables include kale, collards, spinach, beet greens, turnip greens, and lettuce. These foods contain generous amounts of calcium, but also contain other nutrients, such as vitamin K, which is instrumental in the maintenance of optimum bone health and prevention of future fractures. Kale is a very good source of calcium, containing an average of 100 mg per one cup serving. For osteoporosis prevention and fall prevention, I recommend consuming two to three servings of green leafy vegetables on a daily basis.
Several types of fatty fish, including salmon, swordfish and tuna, contain large amounts of vitamin D. Swordfish and salmon can provide between 570–450 IU of vitamin D per three-ounce serving. The daily recommended amounts of vitamin D for woman ranges from 600–800 IU per day to maintain optimum health. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient, because it allows the calcium you eat to be absorbed from the intestine; it also affects the amounts of calcium you excrete from your kidneys. Without adequate intake of vitamin D, your body will not be able to absorb and utilize the calcium from the foods you eat. That’s why vitamin D is an essential vitamin for osteoporosis prevention and fall prevention. I recommend that you consume at least two to three six-ounce servings of fatty fish per week.
To help protect your bones as you age, you want to incorporate these foods into your diet for fall prevention and osteoporosis prevention.
Lanou, A.J., “Soy foods: are they useful for optimal bone health?” Ther Adv Musculoskelet Dis. December 2011; 3(6): 293-300.
“Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets,” Office of Dietary Supplements web site; http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/list-all/, last accessed July 29, 2013.
Pearson, D.A., “Bone health and osteoporosis: the role of vitamin K and potential antagonism by anticoagulants,” Nutr Clin Pract. October 2007; 22(5): 517–44.
Gajic-Veljanoski, O., et al, “Vitamin K supplementation for the primary prevention of osteoporotic fractures: is it cost-effective and is future research warranted?” Osteoporos Int. November 2012; 23(11): 2681–92.