It’s true that most of the nutrients we need to live a healthy life can be found in the food we consume. But let’s be honest, none of us eat as healthy as we ideally should be. As we get older our bodies need a little more help maintaining the ideal healthy standard, as it becomes less efficient at absorbing key nutrients. In addition to this, our ability to taste declines, and it becomes difficult to chew or digest certain foods.
Below we’ve listed some key nutrients and vitamins elders should look out for.
Vitamin B12 helps maintain our body’s nerve function and the ability to make new red blood cells and DNA. It also helps prevent a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia that makes people feel weak and tired. Since elders are already struggling with declining strength and lower energy levels, a boost is essential.
Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal foods like fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and other dairy products. If the elder is a vegetarian/vegan we would recommend consulting a doctor regarding a Vitamin B12 supplement or shot.
Also known as vitamin B9, Folate plays an important role in red blood cell formation and general healthy cell growth and function. It’s found usually in dark green leafy vegetables, peas, nuts and beans. Some fruits that are rich in folate include oranges, bananas and strawberries.
Responsible for building and maintaining strong bones, calcium is an essential nutrient to include in your diet because our body cannot produce its own. If you don’t consume enough of it, your body will extract it straight out of your bones. You will also be at a higher risk of having brittle bones and fractures. In addition to keeping your bones strong it also enables our blood to clot, muscles to contract and our heart to beat.
Dairy products such as yogurt, cheese and milk are highest in calcium. Certain green vegetables and other foods like cereals, some juices, soy milk, bread and some snacks contain smaller amounts of calcium or have added calcium.
Also called the “sunshine vitamin” because it’s produced naturally by the body in response to direct sunshine. Its main functions are regulating the absorption of phosphorus and calcium and aiding in maintaining normal immune system function. Getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D is also important for the growth and development of our teeth and bones. In addition, it aids in protecting us from disease and infection.
Naturally, the best source of vitamin D is the sun. However, as we age our body’s ability to synthesize vitamin D from sunlight decreases. High levels of vitamin D are found in most fish, eggs and dairy products.
As we age, our bodies need a little more help maintaining a healthy state. Focusing on getting enough of the above-mentioned vitamins and nutrients will make a huge difference to a seniors daily life.