Even with a wholesome diet, it is likely that we would still need to supplement our diets with certain vitamins and minerals, especially as we age. As our bodies change and evolve with age, we require more of certain nutrients that are not possible to obtain solely through diet.
Casting a wide net, there are specific nutrients that are commonly recommended for older adults; however, it is highly recommended that you consult your doctor before adding these supplements to your diet, especially if you are taking prescribed medications.
That said, here are the top vitamins that are typically recommended for adults over the age of 50:
1. Vitamin D and Calcium – Bone loss accelerates once you hit your 50s, especially among women--- due to menopause. Calcium is essential for maintaining optimal bone health. However, in order for your body to absorb calcium you need Vitamin D. So these two vitamins need to go hand-in-hand. Outside of supplementation, good sources of calcium include milk, cheese, and leafy greens.
2. Omega 3 fatty acids – Omega 3s are incredibly important for maintaining optimal heart and brain health. It is a vitamin that is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and also helps to keep blood sugar levels stable. Foods that are high in Omega 3s include fish, nuts, seeds and edamame (raw soy beans).
3. Vitamin B12 – B12 is a vital nutrient for nerve and blood health. It is plentiful in most meats and cheese. Ample stomach acid is required to absorb B12 in our bodies. But as we age, the production of stomach acid decreases so we may need to supplement with B12 vitamins. If you are anemic, this is likely a supplement that will be recommended by your doctor as well.
4. Zinc – Our immune systems are far more delicate as we age, and getting a seemingly “small” cold can take a larger toll on our bodies than it would if you were a younger adult. Zinc is very important for our body’s defensive system to function properly. It is also helpful in repairing wounds and improving our sense of smell and taste. Foods rich in zinc include garlic, dark chocolate and seeds.
During your next check-up, ask your doctor about whether they might recommend some of these vitamins to supplement your diet. You might be surprised how much better you feel! Inter Valley Health Plan hosts classes regularly on health and vitality. For a full list of classes in your area, please visit ivhp.com/forhealthandliving.
Article From Inter Valley Health Plan