Osteoporosis is a serious chronic health issue that threatens to strike older people, primarily women over the age of sixty. One of the defenses against this potentially devastating condition though is following the right diet, even if that means making some changes to what they may have thought was an already fairly healthy diet.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a reduction in overall bone density that puts sufferers at an increased risk for fractures and bone breaks. It affects both men and women but is far more prevalent in females – especially females over the age of sixty – and some estimates state that more than 50% of women who are aged sixty or older suffer from at least a mild form of osteoporosis and that thousands of fractures – especially hip fractures – can be attributed to the condition.
Bad Diet Habits to Avoid – Too Much Salt
People have been hearing for years that they should cut their sodium intake to prevent high blood pressure but what many women do not realize is that too much salt can be very bad for their bones as well. A number of studies have shown that women over 60 with a high sodium intake in their diet – especially table salt – are at twice the risk for developing severe osteoporosis. Ideally women should restrict the amount of extra salt they add to their food both while cooking it and after it is served.
In order to keep your sodium intake to a reasonable level you also need to learn to begin reading food labels on a regular basis while you are shopping. The biggest hidden sources of sodium are in processed foods like TV dinners and canned foods, especially canned soups. Processed lunch meats can be big unexpected sources of excessive amounts of sodium as well.
Bad Diet Habits to Avoid – Missing Out on Calcium
Getting enough calcium is crucial in the fight to prevent osteoporosis. However in an attempt to keep their weight in check many women cut the amount of dairy they consume – a huge source of calcium. Reducing the amount of fat in your diet is always a good idea but that does not have to mean giving up dairy. Low fat alternatives like low fat cheese and skim milk still have plenty of the calcium you need and can still be part of a weight conscious healthy diet. Dairy foods are not the only good source of calcium though. Beans, dark leafy greens and fortified breakfast cereals are also good sources of calcium and none of those foods will derail any dieting efforts.
Bad Diet Habits to Avoid – Underestimating the Importance of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is also crucial for healthy bones for people of all ages. Ideally people should be able to get all of the vitamin D that their bones need from the sun (Vitamin D is also often called the sunshine vitamin) but most people spend less time in the sun than they used to and the result is that Vitamin D deficiency is becoming more and more common.
To make sure that you are getting enough Vitamin D these days you have to look to foods like salmon and swordfish and to a lesser extent yogurt and milk or consider taking a Vitamin D supplement.