Given the hustle and bustle of daily life, few of us consistently eat a well-balanced diet. As a result, many of us need supplements to give us the proper micronutrients to nourish our bodies and keep us healthy.
Although it’s best to get all your nutrients from your diet, supplements do offer an easy alternative. Here is a useful checklist of vitamins for adults 50+:
1. Vitamin A and C - Vitamin A is associated with vision development, cellular growth and maintenance. Vitamin C helps the body form the main protein used as connective tissue in the body in blood vessels, bones, cartilage and muscle. Foods high in Vitamin C consist of citrus fruits (such as oranges and grapefruit) and their juices, as well as red and green pepper and kiwifruit.
2. 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 and play an important role in preventing bone fractures. In addition to taking supplements, good sources of calcium include milk, cheese, and dark leafy greens.
3. 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).
4. 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.
5. 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.
When taking your supplements, stay informed and don’t get caught up in these myths:
· Myth #1: Diet or exercising should not be a priority if I take my vitamins.
- Fact: Supplements are just that – they supplement what comes with a healthy lifestyle like a balanced diet and regular physical activity. They will never replace those important factors.
· Myth #2: Regular time outside in the sunshine gives me plenty of sufficient Vitamin D.
- Fact: In most cases, we spend most our time indoors and if we are outside for a length of time we usually have sunblock on. So, don’t assume you are getting sufficient Vitamin D. Look into a vitamin D and calcium supplement as its important for bone, breast, colon health and more.
- Myth #3: Supplements don’t expire.
- Fact: Even supplements kept in dark bottles will break down and lose some of their potency. Always follow the “best used by” date located on the bottle.
- Myth #4: The medicine cabinet is the best place to store vitamins.
- Fact: Medicine cabinets, often in the bathroom are exposed to heat and moisture so it’s probably not the best place to store supplements. Instead, try the kitchen away from the stove or sink.
- Myth #5: I can’t overdose on vitamins.
- Fact: A rule of thumb is too much of anything is never good and it is possible to consume too many supplements. Always follow the recommended daily allowances and monitor your intake.
During your next check-up, ask your doctor about whether they might recommend supplements and ask which ones might be best for you.
It is highly recommended that you consult your doctor before adding supplements to your diet--- especially if you are taking prescribed medications.
Inter Valley Health Plan hosts classes regularly on health and vitality. For a full list of classes in your area, please visit https://www.ivhp.com/forhealthandliving.
Article From Inter Valley Health Plan