Thought Leader Series: 3 Recipes to Help Strengthen and Protect Your Bones
Stephan Baldwin is the Director of Business Development for Assisted Living Center, a resource for senior care communities. Do you hear funny noises when you get up from a chair after sitting for a while? Is it the...
Stephan Baldwin is the Director of Business Development for Assisted Living Center, a resource for senior care communities.
Do you hear funny noises when you get up from a chair after sitting for a while? Is it the same noise you hear upon arising in the morning?
If you're a senior citizen and those noises sound like cracks and pops, it may be your bones and joints demanding that you give them more calcium and vitamin D.
Feed Your Bones the Right Kind of Foods
According to the National Institute of Health, seniors should increase their intake of these calcium-rich foods:
- Yogurt, cheese and low-fat milk
- Cereals and orange juice fortified with calcium
- Collard greens, broccoli and other dark-green, leafy vegetables
- Soybeans, almonds, sardines, tofu and salmon (with bones)
There is a common misconception that calcium and vitamin D are the same thing. Calcium is a mineral essential for the development of your teeth and bones. In fact, 99 percent of the calcium in your body is stored in your teeth and bones. Vitamin D, on the other hand, is needed to help your bones and teeth absorb calcium. The best way to maintain good levels of vitamin D is to expose yourself to sunlight. However, many seniors don't spend enough time in the sun, which can result in vitamin D deficiency and the reduced ability for bones and teeth to absorb calcium.
Fortunately, eating plenty of foods containing calcium and vitamin D can help your bones stay strong, healthy and resistant to osteoporosis. Read on for some great calcium- and vitamin-D-rich recipes.
- Pre-made whole wheat flatbread (available at most supermarkets)
- Pesto sauce
- Canned salmon, chopped
- Arugula, sliced or chopped
Pack the right toppings on a flatbread pizza and you have a calcium powerhouse you can eat as a meal or an appetizer. Spread pesto sauce on the flatbread, then add the chopped salmon and as much arugula as you wish.
Pour yourself a big glass of cold, low-fat milk and enjoy a healthy snack that provides around 600mg of calcium. The flatbread alone offers over 100mg.
- Dried manicotta pasta shells
- Skim ricotta cheese
- Garlic tomato sauce
After boiling a potful of manicotti pasta shells to just shy of al dente, stuff them with skim ricotta cheese and place several on a foil-lined cookie tray. Pour garlic tomato sauce over them and bake for about 15 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Just two stuffed manicotti shells will infuse your bones with more calcium than one glass of milk. In addition, 1/2 cup of skim ricotta cheese has 335mg of calcium while 1/2 cup of garlicky tomato sauce has 16mg.
3. Kale Salad
- One pound (usually two bunches) of kale (stems removed)
- Two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Pinch or two of coarsely ground black pepper
- Three to six tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
Stack the kale leaves and roll them lengthwise, so they resemble a big cigar. Thinly slice the roll, which will give you kale ribbons. Combine the kale with the olive oil, lemon juice, salt,and pepper, and enjoy. For extra calcium and flavor, sprinkle with gruyere or Swiss cheese (one ounce of either has 270mg of calcium).
With heart, lung and brain health main concerns of many seniors, bone health is often neglected...until osteoporosis develops. Spending time in sunlight and eating calcium-rich foods can help you maintain bone health - and eat some great food in the process.
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