In last year's Guide to Good Health titled Somebody Warn Sally Field, I covered how drugs like Fosamax and Boniva, two of the pharmaceutical "answers" for bone loss, may actually weaken bones and slow their ability to heal.
Well, now I have another good tip for Sally Field: If you really want to prevent hip fractures, skip the Boniva and eat more steak! Scientists from Harvard Medical School have found that just eating more steak may cut your risk of hip fractures by 50 percent!
Steak dinner for stronger hips?
Well, to be honest, it's not just steak that's going to protect you from hip fractures. So will eggs and fish. And chicken and lentils. And raw milk and almonds. In fact, Harvard researchers have found that just about anything that contains PROTEIN can help you prevent hip fractures. You just have to make sure you're getting plenty of it.
But unfortunately, most seniors don't get enough. In fact, if you're over 60, your daily meal plan may look a little like this:
Breakfast: Coffee and a whole-wheat bagel
Lunch: Turkey sandwich and a pear
Dinner: Salmon, rice, and broccoli
Sure, this meal plan looks relatively healthy. But it only boasts about 30 grams of protein. And if you eat like this day after day, year after year, you're just asking for a hip fracture.
So how much protein do you need to prevent fractures? A group of Boston scientists recently figured it out...
High protein diets result in fewer fractures
Scientists analyzed the daily protein intake of 946 seniors enrolled in the Framingham Osteoporosis Study. They found that men and women with the lowest protein intake had 50 percent MORE hip fractures than participants with normal intakes.
On the other hand, men and women who consumed adequate protein had higher bone mineral density and the fewest fractures.
You see, the drug industry wants you to believe that the ONLY way to prevent fractures is to take a drug to build thicker bones. But clearly there's another way: Just don't fall.
And how do you prevent falls?
You build stronger muscles.
And what's a key component to stronger muscles?
You got it: Protein!
In fact, Marian T. Hannan, lead author for the study, says women over 65 need at least 46 grams of protein per day and men need 56 grams. Sounds easy? Well it is. You just have to make a few adjustments to your meal plan, and you'll feel the difference in no time.
Build protein into your diet
The meal plan I mentioned earlier is a good start. But here's the biggest problem: there's not enough breakfast protein!
The easiest way to get more protein in the morning is to skip the bagel and eat an egg (or two). Just one egg contains almost seven grams of protein. Plus, they're rich in other important nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and choline. Just make sure to go for organic, free-range brown eggs. Get them from a local farmer, if you can! You'll know these eggs are the real deal if they have dark (almost orange) yolks and hard shells.
And let me just say this to anyone's who's been brain-washed to believe that eating eggs will raise your cholesterol: It won't. Even if you eat 10 eggs a day, it won't make a lick of difference. You see, there are a limited number of receptor sites for cholesterol in your gut, so there's a limit to how much you can absorb from the foods you eat.
And here's the real kicker: even if you believe high cholesterol in your blood is a factor for heart disease (which I don't), there is ZERO correlation between oral intake of cholesterol and blood serum levels. Yep. We've been had folks. So go ahead and eat an egg (or two) for breakfast, unless your doctor resolutely forbids it. (And if that's the case, I would still avoid the egg-substitutes with a 10-foot pole and opt to get your protein elsewhere.)
Another easy way to add more protein into your day is to sprinkle nuts over a salad or yogurt. Just a handful of almonds alone contain 6 grams of protein! And if you use Greek yogurt, you'll get 15 to 20 grams of protein from one serving right there! Plus, it has a super creamy texture and is a real treat for your pallet.
In closing, this week take the protein test. Write down everything you eat in a given day and add up all the protein. Remember, for women, your total should add up to at least 46 grams, and for men it should be 56 grams. If you don't cross that threshold, look for ways to up your protein. It just may lower your risk of hip fracture by up to 50 percent!