Are you at risk of fall­ing? Your diet can help

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page -

Falls are not a nor­mal part of ag­ing. How­ever, falls are one of the main causes of hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sions in all age groups.

They es­pe­cially af­fect older adults, im­pact­ing their mo­bil­ity, over­all health and ul­ti­mately af­fect­ing their in­de­pen­dence and qual­ity of life.

The good news is that most falls are avoid­able through sim­ple pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures and life­style changes.

The Stay­ing In­de­pen­dent – Check Your Risk for Fall­ing check­list can help you de­ter­mine whether you or an older adult you know is at risk of fall­ing. Visit eohu.ca to find the check­list. The check­list asks sim­ple yes or no ques­tions that are scored based on your an­swers.

If you score more than 4 points, you’re at risk of fall­ing – and should share your check­list re­sults with your health care provider, who can help you find ways to re­duce your risk.

Through­out your life, eat­ing healthy, bal­anced meals plays an im­por­tant role in keep­ing you feel­ing great and pre­vent­ing chronic dis­eases. It can also help pre­vent mus­cle and bone loss, re­duc­ing your risk of fall­ing and break­ing bones.

For easy-to-fol­low rec­om­men­da­tions on healthy eat­ing, see Canada’s food guide. The guide also pro­vides tips for older adults.

In ad­di­tion to fol­low­ing Canada’s food guide, when it comes to pre­vent­ing falls and fall-re­lated in­juries, weaker. In or­der to avoid this, adults over the age of 50 need to con­sume 1000 to 1200 mg of cal­cium every day. In­di­vid­u­als at risk for or liv­ing with os­teo­poro­sis should con­sume 1500 mg of cal­cium per day.

How much cal­cium your body ab­sorbs de­pends on the food it's com­ing from, so it is im­por­tant to vary its sources. Be­low are some foods that will help you reach your re­quired cal­cium in­take: Cow's milk and for­ti­fied non-dairy bev­er­ages Cheese Canned fish with soft bones (such as sal­mon or sar­dines) Yo­gurt Tofu (set with cal­cium) Al­monds Dried figs White beans Milk pud­ding Cal­cium sup­ple­ments can also help you reach your re­quired cal­cium in­take. There are many types of cal­cium sup­ple­ments, so talk to your health care provider to find out which is best for you.

Most sup­ple­ments are ab­sorbed bet­ter by the body when taken with meals. And whether you get your cal­cium from your diet or sup­ple­ments, try to spread your in­take through­out the day as it’s bet­ter ab­sorbed in small doses of 500 mg or less at a time.

Vi­ta­min D

Vi­ta­min D is the other half of the dy­namic duo that helps keep your bones strong and pre­vent in­jury from falls. Vi­ta­min D in­creases cal­cium ab­sorp­tion and helps build the skele­ton, im­prov­ing your strength and bal­ance in the process.

Your body pro­duces vi­ta­min D when your skin is ex­posed to the sun, but you can also get it through foods high in vi­ta­min D like for­ti­fied cow's milk or for­ti­fied non-dairy bev­er­ages, egg yolks, cer­tain types of fish (sal­mon, sar­dines) and liver.

It’s also a good idea for adults over the age of 50 to take a vi­ta­min D sup­ple­ment of 400 IU daily.

This is be­cause the body re­quires more vi­ta­min D at that age than what we can get from food, but also be­cause the body’s abil­ity to pro­duce vi­ta­min D through sun ex­po­sure is re­duced.

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