Good bone health is important for older adults. Osteoporosis is a threat for both men and women. Although women are diagnosed with osteoporosis at a higher rate; men can suffer from low bone mass as well. The National Osteoporosis Foundation reports that approximately 12 million American men are at risk of developing osteoporosis.
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a term meaning “porous bone,” and it is applied to a condition in which a person either loses too much bone mass, makes too little bone mass, or both. When the bones are less dense, they are weaker and are much more likely to break than when they are strong.
There are a number of lifestyle factors that can contribute to or help prevent osteoporosis. One of the key preventative factors is a diet that includes plenty of vitamin D and calcium. Both of these elements are necessary for maintaining proper bone health.
There are many foods that are good sources in vitamin D and calcium. Here are ten that aging parents and others may want to include in their diets. Of course, as always, it’s essential to speak with a doctor before making significant alterations to your diet.
- Collard greens. Women over 70 and men over 50 need 1200 mg of calcium per day. (For those below these ages, the recommendation is 1000 mg.) One 8-ounce serving of collard greens contains a whopping 360 mg of calcium, making it an excellent promoter of bone health.
- Dairy products. Low-fat milk and products made with low-fat milk are excellent sources of calcium. One glass of milk contains 300 mg of calcium; 4 ounces of part-skim ricotta cheese contains 335 mg. (Those with lactose issues may wish to try fortified almond milk, rice milk, or soy milk, all of which have 300 mg of calcium in one 8 ounce glass.)
- Sardines. Some fish are worthy calcium sources. A can of sardines with bones clocks in at 325 mg of calcium. However, some aging parents may have difficulty eating bones, so be aware of this.
- Eggs. Eating eggs for breakfast is an excellent way of getting some vitamin D into your own or your loved one’s diet.
- Fortified fruit juices. That morning glass of fortified orange juice can help your loved one’s bones, thanks to the 300 mg of calcium it contains.
- Fortified cereals. There’s a wide range of calcium in fortified cereals; while some have an impressive 100 or 200 mg, others provide a staggering 1,000 mg!
- Broccoli rabe. The strong taste of broccoli rabe makes it a great addition to a meal – and its 200 mg per serving of calcium makes it friendly to aging parents’ bones.
There are many more foods that can be added to a diet to make it friendlier to bone health. Aging parents and others may want to consult with a nutritionist to determine the best way to incorporate bone friendly foods into their diets.