Remember when your parents were in their 60s and 70s — and how old and frail they may have seemed? Hopefully you can look down the road knowing your senior years will be healthier and more active… if you don’t fall victim to this common condition that can take your life in just a year.
That threat is a hip break.
Women are more prone to the dangers of osteoporosis — the condition where creation of new bone slows too much to keep up with the bone tissue you lose as you age. It may be common — but it’s also life-threatening…
Osteoporosis makes your bones more fragile and increases your chances of a hip break. But the most concerning threat is your increased risk of death.
That’s because women between the ages of 65-69 who break a hip are five times more likely to die — within a year — than women of the same age who don’t break a hip, according to published research.
Yes, we’re talking risk of death — not just the inconvenience of a hip break. That’s why you should be sure you’re not only doing everything you can to beef up your bone strength now — but also avoiding the sneaky things that harm your bones…
Dos and Don’ts for healthy, strong bones
Most women over the age of 50 receive a bone density screening during a yearly check-up. For most, that test is the first indication their bones are weakening. Most doctors will pull out their prescription pads straight away and dole out a drug designed to prevent osteoporosis. But that can open a can of worms…
Fosamax was considered a wonder drug for strengthening bones. That is until it was found to lead to jaw bone damage and crippling bone fractures. To make matters worse it was linked to esophageal cancer and chronic irregular heartbeat.
Fortunately, you can improve your bone strength on your own— and most researchers recommend it — because major risk factors include diet and lifestyle habits (consuming overly processed foods, smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages and neglecting exercise) that you can change to help you avoid a hip break.
According to Dr. Isaac Eliaz, one critical, though often overlooked, factor in bone health is the ability of your body to absorb nutrients properly. If digestive health is weak, your body may actually leech essential minerals from bone tissue in order to aid the digestive process — a major contributing factor to osteoporosis.
He advises that you can balance this process by taking extra minerals. A good multivitamin can help if you find it difficult to eat enough mineral-rich foods such as seaweeds and dark greens. That way your body will be primed to let these stellar bone-strengtheners work their magic…
Must-have bone nutrients
Calcium-rich foods are especially important for healthy bones and teeth, as well as proper function of the heart, muscles and nerves. Since the body cannot produce calcium on its own, it must be absorbed through calcium-rich foods, which include dark-green leafy vegetables such as bok choy, chard, kale, broccoli, dandelion greens and cooked spinach, as well as sea vegetables such as kelp and nori.
More and more research is showing just how important vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is to your overall health. Vitamin D3 is actually a hormone that the body creates naturally from the ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays in sunlight, as well as from foods such as: shiitake mushrooms and other medicinal mushrooms; cod liver oil; and fatty fish, including salmon, sardines and mackerel.
Magnesium is often a greater health issue than lack of calcium. Most of us are lacking in this essential nutrient. For this reason, it is important to fill your diet with magnesium-rich green vegetables such as lightly cooked spinach, raw cacao (chocolate), beans, peas, nuts, seeds, and whole, unrefined grains.
Vitamin K2 is also important for bone health. It’s mostly found in meat, organ meats (liver), cheese, egg yolks and fermented foods.
At the same time you’re boosting your intake of nutrients that can boost your bone growth, be careful to shy away from the foods and habits that can actually contribute to weaking your bones…
Avoid these bone-leaching foods
Coffee is full of positive perks that researchers are just starting to discover. However, if you are at risk for osteoporosis, too much coffee can be a danger for you.
According Linda K. Massey, PhD, RD, a professor of human nutrition at Washington State University in Spokane, “You lose about 6 milligrams of calcium for every 100 milligrams of caffeine ingested.” To cut down on the risk of a hip break try to limit coffee consumption or consider switching to decaf.
Another food substance to be wary of is salt. Research has found that postmenopausal women with a high-salt diet lose more bone minerals than other women of the same age.
In the standard American diet, most people get twice the salt they should. You can get less by not adding additional salt to your food, for starters, but also by avoiding ultra-processed foods. If you must eat processed foods, look for lower sodium content versions.
If you haven’t already, ditch the sodas. Many soft drinks and certain other carbonated soft drinks contain phosphoric acid, which can increase calcium excretion in your urine. Plus, most sodas compound the caffeine problem I mentioned above when talking about coffee.
Eat more calcium-rich foods
It’s an easy fix to add calcium-rich foods to your regular routine. These foods are some of the most calcium-rich, and you may be surprised to see they are not all dairy sources. Good news for the lactose-intolerant…
- Fortified cereals
- Fortified orange juice
- Fortified soymilk
- Enriched breads, grains and waffles