An estimated 4.7 million Australians over the age of 50 currently have osteoporosis or osteopenia, with over 144,000 associated fractures recorded in 2013.
Bone density loss usually speeds up during the 50s for both men and women, although it tends to happen more slowly in men than it does for women of the same age. This is because oestrogen, which has a protective effect on bone density, declines rapidly in women during menopause.
But Osteoporosis Australia says the crippling condition doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of ageing.
Studies have proven that there are steps you can take to improve your chances of living a healthy lifestyle for years to come.
Osteoporosis Australia says that ensuring you get adequate Vitamin D and exercise are two of your best weapons for keeping the disease at bay.
Nutritionists also recommend adopting a diet that’s rich in calcium.
Here are some of the major food sources (and combos) to help you on your way:
Yogurt with your fruit
Nuts – almonds especially
Cheese in your salads
Lots of leafy veggies with dinner (broccoli is a good one) and in salads (spinach)
Also, make sure you try 50sowhat‘s favourite bone-boosting smoothie:
1 cup milk (of your choice soy/almond/etc.)
Handful of almonds
1 banana – we like using frozen bananas as it gives the smoothie a real creamy texture and makes it nice and cold (can also add berries, mango etc.)
To get a better idea of your bone health, Osteoporosis Australia has a great online tool here.
For added certainty, it’s best to visit your GP to arrange a bone density test.