Vitamins & Minerals You Need as You Age

As you become older, eating right and staying active can help you stay healthy and strong. Each day, eating a variety of healthful foods and liquids aids in:

  • Keep your bones and muscles in good shape.
  • Develop a strong immune system.
  • Prevent chronic illness and disease.
  • High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes can all be managed.

It's not just about the stuff you eat when it comes to eating well. It's about sharing food traditions, creating and enjoying food with others, and eating thoughtfully. Taking time to eat and being aware of when you are hungry and full are all examples of mindful eating. Being mindful might assist you in making healthy decisions more frequently.

What nutrients are essential as we grow older?

Your body's ability to use or absorb certain nutrients may decrease as you get older. It's critical to consume enough of the vitamins and minerals listed below:


You may lose more of this mineral than you absorb as you get older. This can make your bones more brittle (osteoporosis), more common in women after menopause. Calcium aids the proper functioning of your muscles, nerves, cells, and blood vessels. The majority of it comes from your bones, which in turn receive it from meals. Women over the age of 50 and males over 70 should receive roughly 20% more than other people. Sources include milk, yogurt, and cheese.


It aids in the formation of blood and nerve cells. It can only be obtained naturally from animal foods such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. Most Americans have adequate B12, although this may change as they become older. Atrophic gastritis affects up to 30% of persons over the age of 50, making it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients from the diet. This vitamin is still available in "B12-fortified" foods, such as morning cereal, as well as pills and shots.

Vitamin D

It is required for calcium absorption by your body. As a result, take them together to help prevent osteoporosis. Vitamin D also aids the proper functioning of your muscles, neurons, and immune system. The majority of humans obtain vitamin D from sunlight. However, as you become older, your body becomes less capable of converting sunlight into vitamin D. It's more difficult to absorb this vitamin from food, but fatty fish like salmon can help.


It is used by your body to fight pathogens and produce energy. It also aids in the development of a baby's brain. As you become older, you'll require more B6. SEVERAL STUDIES HAVE LINKED high B6 blood levels in seniors to more significant memory studies. However, those with dementia do not appear to benefit from the vitamin. Chickpeas are a simple and economical source of protein. Liver and fatty fish are also high in cholesterol.


It aids in the production of protein and bone and maintains blood sugar levels. It's found in nuts, seeds, and leafy greens. Older folks, on the other hand, eat less of it. You're also more likely to have health issues like digestive issues or to be taking drugs that prevent your body from efficiently absorbing magnesium.


These "friendly" bacteria are beneficial to your digestive system. They're found in fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut, as well as supplements. They can aid with digestive problems like diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and allergies. If you're in good health, probiotics are probably safe. However, if you have any medical difficulties or a weaker immune system, consult your doctor first.


Because your body cannot produce certain fatty acids, they are referred to as "essential." They are necessary for the health of your eyes, brain, and sperm cells. They may also aid in the prevention of age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's, arthritis, and macular degeneration, which can result in blindness. Unless your doctor advises otherwise, it's preferable to get your omega-3s from foods like fatty fish, walnuts, canola oil, or flaxseed.


Many senior citizens in the United States are deficient in this overlooked vitamin. It improves your sense of smell and taste and fights infections and inflammation, all of which are critical functions in older bodies. Zinc may also help to safeguard your eyesight. Oysters are the best source of this mineral by far. Beef, crab, and fortified morning cereals are the only other sources.


It keeps your thyroid functioning correctly and protects your cells from harm and illness. Selenium can also keep your muscles strong and may help you avoid age-related disorders such as dementia, cancer, and thyroid disease. One or two Brazil nuts each day should suffice. Don't go overboard. Too much selenium can cause hair to fall out and your nails to become brittle.


Potassium is involved in practically every bodily function, including the heart, kidneys, muscles, and neurons. It may also assist in preventing strokes, hypertension, and osteoporosis. Many Americans are deficient in this area. Good sources include dried apricots, bananas, spinach, milk, and yogurt. Before you start using supplements, see your doctor. Medication for high blood pressure, migraines, and other diseases may be affected.


Folate can be found in leafy greens, almonds, beans, and other natural vitamin B9. To help avoid birth abnormalities, pregnant women take folic acid, a lab-made form of vitamin B9. Folate promotes cell proliferation and may assist in preventing stroke and cancer. The majority of Americans are satisfied. Food-based folate is entirely safe. However, taking too much folic acid in the form of supplements or fortified meals can increase your risk of colon cancer and neurological damage.


You're probably aware that fibre is beneficial to your health. But did you realize that it becomes even more critical as you get older? Fibre protects against strokes, promotes regular bowel movements, and decreases cholesterol and blood sugar levels, essential in older bodies. Women over 50 should get at least 21 grams of fibre each day, while men should get at least 30 grams, but most individuals don't get enough. This is roughly equivalent to 6-8 servings of whole grains or 8-10 servings of veggies.

Where Can I Find Them?

It's preferable to acquire vitamins, minerals, and fibre through food rather than tablets. However, for some elderly Americans, this can be difficult, especially if they do not eat a well-balanced diet. Vitamin D deficiency, potassium deficiency, calcium deficiency, and dietary fibre deficiency are the most common. If you believe you require more than what you can obtain from food, speak with your doctor about supplements compatible with your medications, diet, and overall health.


There is little, if any, evidence that multivitamins assist otherwise healthy seniors. The US Preventive Services Task Force advises against taking daily multivitamins to prevent cancer or heart disease. Senior multivitamins may contain higher amounts of vitamin D or B12 and less iron. You probably don't need them unless you have a poor appetite or problems that prevent you from consuming a balanced diet.

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