Did you know that a senior’s diet can affect their risk of falling? The nutrients we eat affect balance, strength and subsequently, the impact of a fall. But which nutrients are the most important for fall prevention? Studies have shown that increasing vitamin D and calcium intake can reduce a person’s number of falls.
Effects of Vitamin D and Calcium on the Body
Older adults, and especially older women have a higher risk of bone fracture. This is due to the increased rate of bone loss that naturally occurs with ageing. This raises the chance of falling for older adults. However, increased bone density is associated with decreased risk of falling. In one study, “vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduced the number of falls per person by 49%”. There is growing scientific evidence that taking these nutrients decreases the risk of falling. You should always consult a doctor first before changing your diet or vitamin intake.
Ways to Add Them to Your Diet
Many foods are a great natural source of vitamin D:
- Calcium: yogurt, mozzarella or cheddar cheese, sardines, milk, orange juice, firm tofu, salmon, Chinese cabbage, kale and broccoli
- Vitamin D: Fatty fish (e.g., tuna, salmon or mackerel), fortified orange juice or milk, cod liver oil
To make sure your diet is balanced and healthy, please see the charts below for recommended daily amounts.
Calcium – Recommended Dietary Amounts (link)
|51-70||1,000 mg||1,200 mg|
|71+||1,200 mg||1,200 mg|
Vitamin D – Recommended Intake (International Units) (link)
Health Canada advises adults over the age of 50 to take a vitamin D supplement of 400 IU each day.
Calcium and vitamin D supplements are an inexpensive and effective way of reducing the risk of falling. Speak to a doctor if you or someone you know is considering adding them to your fall prevention plan. Who knew you could eat your way to better balance?