If only we could down a can of spinach for instant strength like Popeye! Instead, we have to make a long-term commitment to proper nutrition to keep our body healthy and strong so that we aren’t prone to falls and other injuries. In our fourth and final post on our Fall Prevention series, we’ll explore how minerals, fruits, and vegetables are the superfoods that keep your bones and muscles strong. Read our special recipes rich in these foods at the end!
Making the Most of Minerals
Calcium and Vitamin D are two powerful minerals for fall prevention. Calcium keeps your bones dense and strong, while Vitamin D improves the rate of calcium absorption by your body. These minerals are great tools for fall prevention, but they also help you keep from breaking bones if you do fall.
- Calcium: The absorption rate of calcium by your body decreases with age, so it is important to increase the amount of calcium you consume in a day. Up to 70% of older women currently use some sort of calcium supplement to help achieve the recommended daily levels. For men 51 to 70 years of age, 1000mg is the daily recommended amount, increasing to 1200mg at 71 years. Women 51 and older are always recommended to take 1200mg of calcium each day. Inadequate calcium intake can lead to increased risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis. Great sources of calcium come from: plain yogurt, cheddar cheese, milk, orange juice, tofu, salmon, fortified cereals and more.
- Vitamin D: Even if you consume the proper amount of calcium, your body may not be fully absorbing it if you are deficient in your Vitamin D intake. Proper Vitamin D intake also helps reduce inflammation, prevent rickets, and improve neuromuscular function. While most of Vitamin D comes from exposure to the sun, there are safe alternatives to being in the sun for extended periods of time. Vitamin supplements are utilized by many older Americans; your doctor can help you find the right supplements for you. Adults 51-70 are recommended to get 15 micrograms of Vitamin D each day; this number increases to 20 micrograms at 71 years. Many types of fish, including cod, salmon, mackerel, and tuna have high amounts of Vitamin D. Also consider orange juice, milk, yogurt, and fortified cereals.
Fruits & Veggies
Eating a varied diet of fruits and vegetables help give your body the proper nutrition needed to remain healthy and avoid falls. Carrots, for example, have been recognized for their ability to help improve eyesight, which can help you see your surroundings better and avoid tripping on an object. Dark leafy vegetables like spinach (preferred by Popeyes everywhere) and nutritionally rich soybeans should also be frequent flyers in your meal plan. You should also aim for at least a cup of fruits like avocados, oranges, and berries each day as well.
The 8/8 Rule
You’ve heard it a million times before, but it’s important enough to point out once more: drink eight 8-oz glasses of water each day to stay properly hydrated!
Food for Thought: Recipes rich in fall-preventing foods