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Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls

Eat Well for Life

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Healthy eating can make you look, feel, and perform better. Choosing the right amount and type of food will give you the energy you need to be healthy and strong. It also cuts your risk for many illnesses like osteoporosis and diabetes.

  • What is osteoporosis? Osteoporosis is when your bones are weak. This means your bones break more easily if you fall. You are more likely to have osteoporosis as you get older.
  • What is diabetes? Conditions like diabetes can raise your risk of falling. If you have diabetes, managing your blood sugar levels and eating well can lower your risk of falling. Learn more about staying healthy with diabetes here.

Take Action

  • Eat regular meals and snacks during the day. Missing meals can affect your balance and strength. Check Canada's Food Guide to learn more about eating a variety of healthy foods each day.
  • Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses (250 ml or 8 oz) of fluids, including water, tea and milk. Your healthcare provider may suggest you drink more or less fluids, depending on your health.
  • Get enough calcium and vitamin D.

Calcium

Calcium can help prevent broken bones.

  • Adults aged 19 to 50 need 1000 mg of calcium every day.
  • Adults over 50 need 1200 mg of calcium every day.

It’s best to get calcium in your diet through foods such as:

  • dairy products like milk
  • salmon and sardines (when you eat the bones)
  • cooked leafy greens like bok choy
  • almond butter
  • beans
  • soy, almond, or rice beverages that have calcium added (called calcium-fortified beverages).

It is best to get calcium from the foods you eat. These foods also have other nutrients that are good for your health.

Learn more about calcium.

Foods sources of calcium

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Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and keep your bones and muscles strong. You can get some vitamin D from being out in the sun and from some foods. Most Canadians do not get enough vitamin D and need supplements.

There are some reasons why we are not able to get enough vitamin D from the sun.

  • In our northern climate, your body cannot make enough vitamin D from October to March.
  • If you avoid sunshine, are unable to go outdoors, or cover up for religious or cultural reasons, speak to your healthcare provider about supplements.
  • Sunscreen prevents your body from making vitamin D.

Healthcare providers recommend that you take a vitamin D supplement each day. The best one is vitamin D3.

  • Adults aged 19 to 50 need a vitamin D supplement of 400 to 1000 international units (IU) each day.
  • Adults over 50 need 1000 to 2000 IU each day.

Do not take more than 4000 IU a day of vitamin D as a supplement.

Also include foods in your diet that have vitamin D along with a vitamin D supplement.

Foods with vitamin D include:

  • milk
  • sardines, salmon and other oil fish

Learn more about vitamin D

To find out more about healthy eating:

  • watch the Healthy Eating Pays Off video
  • Canada’s Food Guide: Plan what you eat
  • talk to your healthcare provider if you have other questions about calcium, vitamin D or eating well for life
  • find a registered dietician
  • Some grocery stores will give tours helping you with making the best choices and reading food labels. Ask at the customer service desk.

    To learn more about your risk of falling, take the “Is there a chance you might fall?” checklist.

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    Current as of: June 30, 2019

    Author: Fall Risk Management Program