As we get older, our bones become weaker and if we fall we’re more likely to hurt ourselves. For Falls Awareness Week, we look at some simple tips for taking care of your bones and staying steady on your feet.
Falling over is one of the biggest risks to independent living for older people. Because bones become more brittle as we age, it can lead to breaks or injuries that can really affect your quality of life, and knock your confidence about doing things on your own.
But there are things you can do to lower your risk of hurting yourself, including keeping your bones and muscles strong. And just like keeping your heart healthy and your weight in check, a balanced diet is a great way to start. Here are our top tips for making sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need:
Eating for calcium
Most of us know children need calcium to help them grow, but it’s just as important in later life to prevent the development of osteoporosis, which causes brittle bones. If your diet includes food from a variety of food groups, it should be simple to get enough calcium each day without making any big changes to your diet. Good sources include milk, cheese, cream and green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage.
Getting the vitamin D you need
Vitamin D plays an important role in bone health because it helps our bodies absorb calcium. Sunlight is one of the main sources, but in the UK, the sun is only strong enough to help us make vitamin D in the summer. During the warmer months, try to spend up to 10 minutes each day out in the sun without sunscreen.
As well as going out in the sun, you can get vitamin D from eating eggs or oily fish such as salmon and mackerel a few times a week.
Exercise and healthy muscles
To protect you and your bones against falls, you also need to look after your muscles. By keeping them strong, you’re more likely to stay steady on your feet around the home and outdoors. Regular exercise will help with this – even low-intensity activities such as walking and gardening. You could also try balance-based exercises such as yoga.
To keep your muscles in good shape and help them repair after exercise, it’s important to include protein in your diet. Good sources include meat, fish, cheese, beans, lentils and whole grain cereals.
Meals for smaller appetites
If you find you can’t eat very much, cooking a meal for yourself can seem like a lot of hard work. But rather than relying on snacks, why not take a look at our range of Mini Meals? Here you’ll find many of your favourite dishes, at a size specifically designed for smaller appetites. So you needn’t miss out on enjoying a varied, balanced diet of tasty dishes.
If you have any questions about our home delivered meals service, or would like to find out more, give us a call on 0845 643 2009. We’ll be happy to help.