Of course, proper nutrition is critical at all stages of their lives—we need specific vitamins and minerals to help regulate internal systems like digestion and energy conversion, as well as external ones like skin and hair health. As we get older, however, it may be the case that the body absorbs a smaller amount of some of these key compounds. As a result, doctors may suggest that older patients pay particular attention to certain kinds of nutrients. This doesn’t mean that vitamin supplements and compounds become a must-have as you advance in years; rather, most folks can get all the nutrients they need from regular healthy diets.
10 vitamins and minerals adults over 50 need in their diets
“Postbiotics could help rebalance one’s microbiome and may be especially helpful for an older adult,” says registered dietitian nutritionist Keri Gans, referring to the byproducts of probiotics (aka the good bacteria in your gut). “Research on postbiotics, specifically the dried yeast fermentate ingredient EpiCor, has found that 500mg per day helps to modulate your microbiome and support gut health.”
In order to absorb that crucial calcium, your body needs vitamin D, says Gans. This compounds plays a role in promoting bone health as we age, and can be found in fatty fish, fish liver oils, fortified milk, and fortified cereals.
Research suggests that people may have trouble absorbing Vitamin B12 as they get older, and The Mayo Clinic recommends that adults take in 2.4 mcg every day. You can get this crucial vitamin, which helps keep your blood cells healthy, by consuming meat, fish, poultry, milk, and some fortified cereals.
Critical to your vision, immune system, and key organs like the heart, lungs, and kidneys, Vitamin A is one compound you always want to have enough of, so to increase your intake, consider a diet high in fruits and vegetables like carrots and mangoes.
Magnesium is key to muscle and nerve function, as well as keeping your blood sugar and blood pressure levels healthy. As such, experts say, you’ll want to ensure that your diet contains plenty of foods rich in magnesium like leafy greens and whole grains.
We may tell our kids to drink their milk to help them grow up big and strong, but we should really be telling our parents the same thing. “No matter our age it is important to meet our calcium needs for bone support—menopausal and post-menopausal women especially since bone loss speeds up when your body’s estrogen production decreases,” Gans says.
As we get older, guarding our body against disease becomes increasingly important. Vitamin B6 is key to this function, which is why experts suggest that older adults up the ante on this particular nutrient. You can find B6 in fish, beef liver, potatoes and other starchy vegetables.
Another vitamin key to maintaining a healthy immune system is Vitamin E. Good news for nut lovers—almonds are high in this compound, as are legumes like peanuts. Broccoli and spinach are also foods with vitamin E you'll want to add to your grocery list.
For older adults looking to regulate their heart rate and maintain healthy cellular function, potassium is key. Happily, common fruits like bananas are among the list of foods rich in potassium, as are hemp seeds, sweet potatoes, and lentils.
Omega-3 fatty acids
For folks with joint pain, omega-3 fatty acids could be crucial. “Omega- fatty acids have anti-inflammatory benefits, which may help decrease joint pain as you get older,” Gans says. The compound can also help to reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease.
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