Proper nutrition involves taking a balanced diet that provides your body with the nutrients it requires to stay strong and healthy. The benefits of eating healthy are essential for everyone regardless of age. However, older individuals face more nutrition-related challenges than younger people.
As we age, we may experience changes in our appetite, taste and digestion due to the slowing down of metabolism. Additionally, older people tend to need specific vitamins and minerals in food more than their younger counterparts. In this article, we will discuss a few vitamins for seniors over 70, their benefits and how to obtain them.
Roles of Vitamins for Seniors Over 70
Vitamin D is primarily known for improving bone health and preventing osteoporosis in seniors. Its purpose in our bodies is to regulate calcium and phosphorus levels, which helps ensure strong and healthy bones.
Bone health is especially important for seniors because it reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Older adults are at a higher risk of suffering from this condition because ageing contributes to the gradual loss of bone density and strength. Here are a few sources of Vitamin D:
- Exposure to sunlight
- Eating a balanced diet containing fatty fish, dairy products and certain cereals
- Supplements (when necessary)
It is important to note that excessive vitamin D intake can be poisonous. So, consult a healthcare professional when considering supplementation.
Vitamin B12 is responsible for various physiological processes in our bodies. For instance, it is an essential component in red blood cell formation, thus playing a crucial role in preventing megaloblastic anaemia. It is also critical to the maintenance of the nervous system – it is involved in the production of myelin, a protective sheath that protects nerve fibres.
Seniors can get vitamin B12 from various sources, including:
- Poultry products
- Dairy products
- Fortified cereal
Sometimes, it might be essential to consider vitamin B12 dosage for seniors. Ageing tends to increase the risk of vitamin B12 deficiency because of decreased stomach acid production, dietary factors and atrophic gastritis, among other factors. Healthcare professionals will often recommend supplementation in the form of vitamin B12 dosage for seniors if there are risk factors that increase the likelihood of deficiency.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that provides support to the immune system. It is essential to consume adequate amounts of vitamin C daily to maintain overall health. The body doesn’t produce vitamin C on its own; as such, you will need regular intakes from dietary sources or supplements to keep up with the body’s needs.
Seniors should consider fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C to ensure their bodies get adequate amounts. Some of these foods include:
- Citrus fruits
- Stone fruits
- Tropical fruits
- Brussels sprouts
Vitamin A is essential for various purposes in the body. It improves the immune system and plays a crucial role in bone growth and development, making it one of the most essential vitamins for seniors over 70.
Seniors can get Vitamin A from various sources, including leafy greens, tomatoes, mangoes, fish oils and beef liver. Healthcare professionals can also recommend Vitamin A supplements when specific health conditions warrant supplementation or when individuals are at risk of deficiency.
Vitamin E is another essential vitamin that helps ensure healthy living for seniors over 70. It is responsible for various crucial roles in the body, including fighting free radicals to prevent them from damaging cells. The antioxidant activity has been shown to be effective in reducing the symptoms of conditions and diseases, including cancer and arthritis.
Seniors can source vitamin E from various dietary sources, including:
- Fortified cereals
Vitamin K is crucial for various physiological processes within the human body, including blood clotting, bone health, cell growth and regulation. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which help modulate inflammatory responses in the body and contribute significantly to the overall immune system function.
You can find vitamin K in various foods, including the following:
- Leafy vegetables, such as kale and spinach
- Other plant sources such as green tea, asparagus, cabbage and cucumber
Besides these vitamins for seniors over 70, their bodies also need minerals, such as calcium, to maintain bone and dental health. Calcium also promotes bone and teeth formation, blood clotting, muscle function and cellular signalling. Seniors can get this mineral from dietary sources, including;
- Dairy products, including milk, yoghurt and cheese
- Fortified plant-based milk alternatives, soy milk, almond milk and oat milk
- Leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach and kale
- Nuts and seeds
In Summary: What Vitamins Do I Need Daily?
The benefits of vitamins extend far beyond meeting senior’s dietary needs. Our bodies require these vitamins to perform optimally. Focusing on a balanced diet that includes all essential vitamins and minerals in food helps maintain seniors’ optimal health and well-being. Some of the most notable benefits of vitamins include bone health and an improved immune system.
Seniors can source these vitamins primarily from foods. However, in some instances, supplementation may become crucial to meet the body’s vitamin needs. For example, if the senior gets limited exposure to the sun or has conditions that affect vitamin D absorption. Similarly, individuals with weakened immune systems may need to take vitamin C supplements.
Supplementation helps address potential nutritional deficiencies due to age-related changes or dietary restrictions. But before taking any vitamin supplements, seniors need to consult with a healthcare professional who will help assess their specific nutritional needs. Don’t forget to also hydrate as part of the nutrition.
Caring for seniors’ nutritional needs can be complicated for many individuals. Luckily, with the help of a professional caregiver, you can ensure your older loved one gets all the vitamins and minerals they need to maintain their strength daily. Visit our page today at Veritas Care for a complete care assessment and more information on “what vitamins do I need daily.”