Food and Nutrition

5 Vitamins and Minerals Your Body Needs for Healthy Aging, According to an OB/GYN

Francesca Krempa

Photo: Stocksy / Ivan Solis
What you body needs in terms of nutrition will change as you get older. Essential vitamins and minerals become even more crucial to your overall health and immunity.

Mary Claire Haver, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist based in Galveston, Texas, recently took to TikTok to share five nutritional elements your body craves to support healthy aging. Dr. Haver, who has studied the link between diet and menopause, names five vitamins and minerals as well as gut-healthy probiotics.

@galvestondiet#aging #nutrition #wellness #health #galvestondiet #menopause #womenshealth #SyncYourMiO♬ original sound - Dr. M.C. Haver

The vitamins and minerals your body needs for healthy aging

1. Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral that promotes bone strength and protein production. It also helps to regulate blood sugar stable levels. "Older people tend to take less of it, and they're more likely to have to have long-term health conditions if they're taking any medications that lower their magnesium levels," explains Dr. Haver in the video.

If you want to increase your daily magnesium intake, look for plant-based food high in fiber, like leafy greens, lentils, legumes, and whole grains.

Here's what a dietitians says about the benefits of lentils:

2. Probiotics

In addition to supporting overall gut health, probiotics also protect against allergies, alleviate the symptoms of IBS, and can help with weight management down the line.

While you can buy probiotics as a supplement, you can easily incorporate them into your natural diet as well. Fermented foods, like kimchi and kombucha, are delicious sources of probiotics that help fight inflammation to boot. Other foods, like yogurt, soft cheeses, and tempeh are good for the gut, too.

Here's a dietitians guide to gut health:

3. Vitamin D

Your body is less likely to absorb vitamin D from the sun as you get older. For some, that might mean doubling down on your daily vitamin D intake, whih Dr. Haver says helps to absorb calcium and support bone, muscle, and immunity function.

To store up that sunshine vitamin, add some vitamin D-rich foods to your diet. Egg yolks, for example, are a great source of vitamin D. Fish like sockeye salmon and tuna are good sources, too. Mushrooms, 2 percent milk, and cheese contain plenty of vitamin D.

These are a dietitian's favorite foods with vitamin D:

4. Calcium

"With age, you're going to start losing more of this mineral than you absorb," explains Dr. Haver. "Women over 50 should get 20 percent more [calcium] than other adults."

If you're dairy free or vegan, there are plenty of other ways to up your calcium intake. Fortified alt-milks, especially coconut, rice, and almond, can have up to 450 mg of calcium per cup. Other plant-based foods, like white beans, collard greens, and figs, contain it, too.

Here's what you need to know about calcium and alternative milks:

5. Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega 3 fatty acids (the good fats) support brain and eye health. Dr. Haver says they can help lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, and impaired vision.

As for good sources of these healthy fats, oily fish, like mackerel and salmon, are some of the easiest to find. If fish doesn't float your boat, chow down on some plant-based foods like chia seeds, walnuts, and edamame for a boost of omega-3s.

What you need to know about fish oil, according to a dietitian:

Each of these vitamins and minerals are part of a healthy diet. Can you obtain them with supplements? Sure. But, according to Dr. Haver and other experts, you should first focus on nutrition with naturally rich food sources and consult your doctor before considering a supplement regimen.

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