As an older adult, your doctor might suggest you need a little extra help getting all of the vitamins and minerals you need to be healthy.
Vitamins and minerals keep your body healthy and help it work the way it should as you age. According to the National Institute on Aging, vitamins can help your body acquire energy from food, resist infections, keep your nerves active, and encourage proper blood flow. To promote a healthy lifestyle as you age, it's important to pay close attention to which nutrients and vitamins are most important for your body.
Here are some of the vitamins and minerals for you should be prioritizing as a senior.
According to Age UK, our body makes up most of its vitamin D from simply soaking up the sunshine. However, adults aged 65 and older are at risk of becoming vitamin D deficient because of a lack of exposure to sunlight. But vitamin D is not only absorbed through sunshine, it is also found in foods such as oily fish, eggs, yogurt and fortified cereals. However, adding these foods to your diet may not help you meet your vitamin D needs alone. The NIH said seniors aged 50 to 70 need at least 600 International Units and seniors older than 70 need at least 800 IU. Neither age group should ever take more than 4,000 IU, as too much vitamin D can actually be harmful to your health.
Vitamin B6 helps the body produce neurotransmitters, which carry signals from one nerve to another. It is also needed for normal brain development, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. People who are not getting enough vitamin B6 are also at higher risk of heart disease. As an older adult, you should consider incorporating more dietary sources of B6 into your diet. Great food sources of this vitamin include poultry, tuna, salmon, milk, cheese, beans and carrots.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can help fight disease and infection and it also help aids healing, according to Age UK. Just by eating five or more portions of fruits and vegetables a day, you can get the proper amount of vitamin C you need to keep a healthy immune system. It's recommended to incorporate citrus fruits, strawberries, mangoes, bell peppers and tomatoes as they are all great sources of vitamin C.
Calcium is an important mineral that promotes strong bones and teeth, according to the NIH. As an older adult, your risk for osteoporosis and bone loss increases, so it's important to make sure you are getting the recommended amount of calcium in your system. The easiest way to consume calcium is through milk and dairy products, but you can also acquire it from tofu, dark-green leafy vegetables, soybeans and salmon. The recommended amount for women and men differs:
- Women aged 51 and older: 1,200 mg/day
- Men aged 51 to 70: 1,000 mg/day
- Men aged 71 and older: 1,200 mg/day.
Source: Sunrise Senior Living