Supplements Aging Nutrition

Many people know that, as the years pass, our bodies slowly break down and become more fragile. Decades of wear and tear on our bodies stress out our joints, weather our muscles and make us susceptible to developing or contracting a variety of conditions and diseases.

However, while the effects of aging are inevitable, we can take steps to limiting the damage and living a healthy life as a senior. Along with moderate exercise (about 30 minutes daily), eating healthy and getting the proper nutrition is key to staying active and healthy during the later years of life.

Prevention through Nutrition

While eating healthily is essential to staying active, getting the proper nutrients is also key to warding off certain health problems that tend to affect the elderly. Some of the conditions that proper nutrition can help prevent include:

  • abnormal blood clotting
  • arthritis
  • cancers
  • cataracts and other eye disorders
  • circulatory problems
  • dementia
  • heart disease
  • insomnia
  • osteoporosis
  • Parkinson’s disease.

If you have a personal or family history of any of these (or other serious) conditions, talk to your doctor or nutritionist and develop a healthy diet plan that is right for you. Your specific dispositions and current state of health, along with your age, are also crucial to determining your precise nutritional needs.

Nutrients Seniors Should Get More of

To combat the negative effects of aging while also facilitating the natural aging process, seniors should increase their intake of:

  • Calcium: This will ensure strong bones and prevent osteoporosis. Dairy products, such as milk and cheeses, are good sources of calcium.
  • Fiber: This will promote regularity and prevent diabetes. Legumes (beans), vegetables and fresh fruits are good sources of fiber.
  • Iron: This will maintain blood health and prevent stroke. Red meats and broccoli are good sources of iron.
  • Protein: This will sustain muscle mass. Meats, fish and legumes offer healthy sources of proteins.
  • Vitamin A: This will foster eye health. Green, leafy vegetables and tomatoes are good sources of vitamin A.
  • Vitamin C: This will boost the immune system. Citrus fruits, peppers and tomatoes offer substantial amounts of vitamin C.

While doctors typically recommend that you get most of your nutrients from the foods you eat, sometimes it’s difficult to ensure that you get enough of each nutrient. Whether you have an allergy or an aversion to a particular food source of a nutrient, consider taking a multivitamin or other type of dietary supplement to make sure that you are getting the proper nutrition.

Keep in mind that you should always talk to your doctor before starting any new vitamin regimen. Your doctor can help you determine which vitamins are right for you, while also informing you of any possible side effects of negative interactions between your vitamins and medications you may be taking.

What Seniors Should Avoid

Because seniors tend to be less active than those who are younger, they typically require fewer calories. As a result, to ensure that they still receive the proper amounts of vital nutrients, they should limit their intake of empty calories, a term that refers to calories you eat that don’t provide any nutritional value. Empty calories generally come in the form of fatty, sugary treats, such as cookies, chips, alcohol and soft drinks.

In addition to avoiding fatty, sugary foods, seniors should also limit their intake of salt and bad cholesterol (LDL). Foods that seniors should avoid because of their high salt and/or LDL cholesterol content include fast foods, fried foods and shellfish.

Should you have any questions or concerns about your changing nutritional needs as you age, talk to your doctor or nutritionist.

Resources

MedlinePlus (November 23, 2007). Nutrition for Seniors. Retrieved November 26, 2007, from the National Institutes of Health Web site: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ nutritionforseniors.html.