Getting older is inevitable. This phase of life causes several changes such as muscle loss, less stomach acid, and thickening of the skin.
These changes can affect the quality of life and lead to nutrient deficiency. So, to stay at the top of your health, make sure that you get sufficient nutrients.
This article will help you learn about the five essential vitamins and minerals for older people, their benefits, and the dietary choices that can provide sufficient levels of these nutrients.
Calcium is an abundant mineral and the building block of the body. It helps with several functions such as:
- Bone & muscle movements
- Carrying messages between the brain & other body parts
- Smooth blood movements throughout the body
As you get older, you start to lose calcium mainly because of age-related hormonal decline and become more prone to ailments like osteoporosis – a condition that causes weak and brittle bones.
The body does not make calcium on its own. You get it only from supplements and foods. To maintain sufficient calcium levels, you can include the following foods in your diet:
- Dark leafy greens
- Fortified orange juice
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that your body needs to make blood and nerve cells, especially in people aged 50 or above.
Maintaining an adequate amount of vitamin B12 can provide the following benefits:
- Minimize the risk of anaemia
- Improve brain & bone health
- Prevent osteoporosis
- Maintain healthy eyesight
- Benefit heart health
Like calcium, the body does not produce vitamin B12, and the best way to have an adequate amount of this vitamin is by taking supplements and foods such as:
- Skimmed milk
- Corn flakes
Vitamin D – the sunshine vitamin, is essential for calcium absorption. The body contains this vitamin naturally and activates it upon exposure to sunlight for the right amount of time.
This crucial nutrient provides a range of benefits such as:
- Supporting brain, immune, & nervous system health
- Maintaining healthy weight
- Improving bone health
- Regulating insulin
- Enhancing cardiovascular health
As your age increases, the ability to absorb vitamin D from the sun decreases. Here are a few food sources that can provide you with the appropriate amount of vitamin D:
- Vitamin D supplements
- Egg yolks
- Breakfast cereals
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin that the body does not produce. It helps in the metabolism of the three essential macronutrients – fat, protein, and carbohydrates.
The benefits of this nutrient in older people include:
- Minimizing the risk of depression & treat mood disorders
- Reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease
- Aiding haemoglobin production
- Improving heart health
- Enhancing eye health
- Creating red blood cells & neurotransmitters
- Controlling the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
Since the body does not produce vitamin B6, the best way to have them is from foods. Here are a few dietary choices that you can include:
- Sweet potato
- Green peas
- Breakfast cereals
Magnesium is another nutrient essential for the health of the elderly. Like calcium, this mineral is also abundant and provides several benefits such as:
- Making bones, protein, & energy
- Fighting against diabetes
- Repairing DNA & RNA
- Regulating neurotransmitters
- Controlling blood pressure
A few great sources of magnesium include:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Balck beans
Note: Ask the doctor to prepare a diet chart for you. This will help you avoid having any food that can negatively influence your health.
Don’t let your age cause any hindrance to your health. Load your meals with foods rich in the above-mentioned nutrients and stay at the top of your health.
Furthermore, opt for regular health screening. It can provide you with relevant insight into your body, allowing you to take necessary preventive measures to maintain your overall well-being.