Skip to main content

Carotenoids can help senior men reduce hip fracture risk

December 27, 2012

Nutrition plays a central role in healthy aging. Certain foods have shown the ability to improve memory, maintain eyesight and everything in between, and a new study suggests carotenoids, such as those found in carrots, can help seniors prevent harmful hip fractures. Researchers from the National University of Singapore and the Singapore Ministry of Health found that the plentiful antioxidant was linked to a decreased risk of hip fractures for elderly men.

The study focused on more than 63,000 adults, and found that older men with a low body mass index were most likely to suffer a hip fracture, something that can seriously threaten independent living later in life. However, if they ate a diet high in fruits and vegetables, they lowered the risk. Perhaps most encouraging is that it's easy for seniors to add carotenoids to their diet.

Carotenoids are a common antioxidant that can be turned into vitamin A by the body, and are found in a variety of healthy fruits and vegetables. Deep orange and yellow foods are especially good sources, with carrots and green, leafy vegetables proving to be particularly smart choices.

Experts say that the antioxidants contained within carotenoids reduce inflammation throughout the body, which helps protect cells from damage. This is reflected in a variety of ways, and recent research suggests it could improve the bone health of older adults.

The results are important given how significantly hip fractures can derail healthy aging. The injury can seriously threaten a senior's independence, and there is a roughly 25 percent mortality rate in the year following hip fractures. Aside from taking advantage of carotenoids, there are several steps seniors can take to help lower their risk of hip fractures, and and their chances of suffering a fall.

About one-third of adults 65 and older experience a fall each year, and it's the leading cause of injury-related death among seniors. Aside from nutrition, one of the best ways to reduce the risk of falling is to stay physically active as much as possible, according to the Mayo Clinic. Exercises that focus on balance and flexibility are particularly beneficial and even simple activities such as walking and water aerobics are good ideas.