Just as athletes eat to maximize endurance and strength, seniors can eat to build strong bones and prevent falls. Unfortunately, a recent study recently found that, among seniors over 70, most calories consumed came from white bread, cereal, whole milk, cookies, and cake. There are many factors that can make seniors more prone to falls, but bone loss and muscle loss are high on the list. The following foods recommended by Toronto elder care professionals can help seniors prevent falls and fall-related fractures by boosting muscle and bone mass.
Just 15 percent of seniors get enough protein each day. Without enough protein, muscle loss is a guarantee. Studies have found that seniors should eat about 3-4 ounces of meat or high-protein foods three times a day to improve muscle growth. Salmon is a lean, high-protein food packed with healthy omega-3 fatty acids. A single serving of salmon has just 400 calories and 40 grams of protein.
Low-fat mozzarella contains more protein per calorie than almost any other type of cheese without the fat. Along with being an excellent source of muscle-building protein, mozzarella is also high in calcium to maintain healthy blood pressure and support strong bones. Seniors who get enough calcium can help fight off bone loss that can contribute to falls and fractures.
Vitamin D has been shown to improve muscle strength. Seniors who have low levels of vitamin D are more likely to have low muscle strength and a higher risk of falling. Vitamin D deficiency is also the leading nutritional deficiency among older adults. Two eggs contain 10 percent of the recommended daily dose of vitamin D. While eggs are high in cholesterol, they do not increase blood cholesterol levels. Be sure to eat the whole egg as the egg yolk, not the whites, contains the most vitamin D.
Seniors are encouraged to get at least 600 IUs of vitamin D daily. While supplements can help you reach the recommended intake of vitamin D, it’s best to get vitamins and minerals from food when possible. Mushrooms like morel, portobello, and shiitake are high in muscle-strengthening vitamin D that can reduce the risk of falls. Try adding mushrooms to stir-frys, salads, and pasta dishes. Look for mushrooms at the store that have been exposed to ultraviolet light as they have higher vitamin D levels.
Take your senior loved one’s safety a step further with help from Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers can help keep your loved one safe in the comfort of home through safety monitoring, medication reminders, mobility support, and companionship to keep feelings of isolation and depression at bay. Learn more about our hourly or Toronto live-in care by calling (416) 488-8777 today. We look forward to speaking with you.