As you get older, getting the right nutrition into your body can become an issue. Not only do you need fewer calories (so have less food allowance to work with if you don’t want to gain weight) but our body becomes less efficient at absorbing the nutrients too. Top that off with the fact that appetite can decrease and food doesn’t taste the way that it used to, it’s no wonder that so many older adults suffer from deficiencies and other food related issues. Here are just a few of the nutrients that you need to keep an eye on as you get older.
The risk of osteoporosis increases significantly as we age. The bones can lose tissue and density, making them more brittle and prone to fractures. This is extremely dangerous, and fractures can even lead to death in the hospital in older people. Consume more calcium, foods such as milk, kale, sardines, broccoli and leafy green vegetables are all a good source. You could also add a calcium supplement to your diet such as AlgaeCal. You can read AlgaeCal testimonials online if you’re unsure, or speak to your doctor.
While this is a supplement most taken by pregnant women and those of childbearing age. This is because it can prevent certain birth defects such as spina bifida. It might not be something that had even crossed your mind to take as an older adult. However, it’s so important. If you don’t eat a lot of fresh produce, your folate levels might be low, so try and up these if possible. Breakfast cereals are often fortified with folate these days too, pour on some fresh milk for calcium or almond milk for added nutrients, and you have yourself an excellent start to the day.
Vitamin D protects against a vast array of chronic diseases. And since these can be more prominent (and more deadly) in older people, it’s an important vitamin to get right. This is a vitamin which is mainly produced in the skin when it’s exposed to sunlight, but many people are deficient in it. Especially older people, as the skin becomes less and less efficient at producing the vitamin from sunlight. Few foods naturally contain vitamin D, but luckily lots of products are now fortified with it. It’s debated whether a vitamin D supplement is needed, but upping your intake of healthy fortified products and spending time outdoors is no bad thing.
The digestive system slows as we age, and you might begin to notice issues with bowel movements. In order to keep everything healthy and moving as it should, you need enough fiber in your diet. This also helps to prevent heart disease which is a huge killer. Eat plenty of whole grains such as those in bread, cereal, and wholemeal pasta. Beans are an excellent source, as are fruits and vegetables. Drinking lots of fluids with fiber is essential too, to help the gut function correctly.
The issue with vitamin b12 is that as we age, our body struggles to absorb it. This can quickly lead to deficiencies, which is an issue since b12 is responsible for creating red blood cells as well as keeping the body’s nervous system healthy. If you lack in this vitamin, you’re likely to notice weakness, tiredness, and lightheadedness along with heart palpitations, digestive issues and even vision loss. The highest sources are animal products: meat, fish, eggs and dairy. Upping your intake of these foods (go with lean products to keep your heart healthy) and take a B12 supplement if your doctor says you need one.