Bone health is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for senior citizens. As we age, our bones become less dense and more brittle, which increases the risk of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is caused by a reduction in bone mass due to increased bone resorption and decreased bone formation. This can lead to an increased susceptibility to fractures.
The good news is that there are things you can do to keep your bones healthy. Here are suggestions on what to do and what not to do for better bone health and some tips to maintain a healthy bone mass which helps prevent osteoporosis.
- Don’t smoke: Smoking affects the entire body, including the bones. The nicotine in cigarettes constricts blood vessels and reduces blood flow throughout the body. This can lead to reduced calcium absorption in the intestines and lower bone density, which can lead to osteoporosis later in life. Quitting smoking will reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis, as well as other health problems such as heart disease and cancer.
- Exercise regularly: Regular exercise strengthens muscles, improves balance and coordination, increases endurance and reduces stress — all of which help protect against falls that can break bones or cause other injuries that lead to osteoporosis. Exercise also helps stimulate bone growth by increasing blood flow to bones and releasing hormones that promote bone formation (called anabolic hormones).
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, cantaloupe and strawberries. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron from plant foods that contain iron, so it’s important to get both nutrients together in your diet.
- Cut down on salt. Salt can make your body retain more water, which can increase pressure on your bones and lead to osteoporosis later in life. Aim for less than 2 grams of sodium per day.