Getting adequate nutrition can be a challenge as you get older. Several key nutrients in particular may be in short supply as you age:
B12 is important for creating red blood cells and DNA, and for maintaining healthy nerve function. The richest sources include fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products.
Older people whose diets don't include a lot of fruits and vegetables or fortified breakfast cereals may be falling short. "Still, if you don't eat breakfast cereals or plenty of fruits and vegetables, it's wise to ask your doctor if you should take a supplement that contains folate," says Kathleen Zelman, RD, director of nutrition for WebMD.
Calcium plays many roles in the body. But it is most important for building and maintaining strong bones. Help yourself to three servings a day of low-fat milk and other dairy products. Other good dietary sources of calcium include kale and broccoli, as well as juices fortified with calcium.
"Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, maintain bone density, and prevent osteoporosis," says Zelman. Recent findings suggest that vitamin D may also protect against some chronic diseases, including cancer, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and autoimmune diseases. In older people, vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to increased risk of falling. Many foods are fortified with vitamin D, including cereals, milk, some yoghurts, and juices. Vitamin D is found in salmon, tuna, and eggs.
This essential mineral is vital for cell function and has also been shown to help reduce high blood pressure and the risk of kidney stones. Banana, prunes, plums, and potatoes with their skin are particularly rich in potassium.
Getting enough can help keep your immune system in top shape, your heart healthy, and your bones strong. Fill your plate with as many unprocessed foods as possible, including fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, beans and seeds.
Fibre helps promote healthy digestion by moving foods through the digestive tract. Foods rich in fibre include whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables.
These unsaturated fats, found primarily in fish, have a wide range of benefits, including lowering triglyceride levels and risk of abnormal heart rhythms that can lead to sudden death. Nutrition experts recommend helping yourself to at least two servings of fish a week. Salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel are especially high in omega-3 fats. Some vegetable sources of omega 3 include soybeans, walnuts, flaxseed, and canola oil.
Water might not seem like an essential vitamin or mineral, but it is crucial for good health. With age, sense of thirst may decline. Nutritionists recommend you drink 3 to 5 large glasses of water each day, says Zelman. One sign that you're drinking enough is the colour of your urine. It should be pale yellow. If it is bright or dark yellow, you may need to drink more liquids.
Remember to always talk to your doctor before you begin taking supplements.