Disclaimer: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have.
For the elderly, maintaining a properly balanced diet is key to good health during your later years. As a result of aging, the body’s metabolism will inevitably begin to slow down. Knowing what you’re eating – and whether it’s healthy or not – is more important than ever during this stage of your life. Besides eating healthy meals, there are ways of facilitating your body’s natural processes through supplemental vitamins and minerals in order for a senior to maintain a healthy, balanced diet.
Supplements play a crucial role in aiding seniors to fight off chronic diseases that are common at an older age. Not only do supplemental vitamins and minerals ward off disease, but they also provide lasting benefits that can improve sleep, better regulate your immune system, and prevent bone loss among other things.
Different Supplements For Different Ages
The use of supplements is frequent across all ages, but, as a senior, it becomes an essential habit given irregular nutritional levels past the age of 45. With this in mind, a senior will benefit from certain supplements at distinct periods of their lives based on what the body needs during those years. These periods are broken down into three different age ranges, as you can see below.
Age Range: 50s
As bone density loss begins to accelerate during your 50s, it is ever-so-important that you prevent this by getting a sure amount of Vitamin D. Not only can Vitamin D lessen the bone loss, but it can also strengthen your bone structure. With a proper daily dosage of Vitamin D supplements, a senior is able to avoid long-term health problems such as osteoporosis.
Sources: Fatty Fish (Salmon, Mackerel, Tuna, etc.), Egg Yolks, Cheese, Beef Liver, Mushrooms, Almonds, Whole Wheat Bread, Milks (Soy, Almond, Dairy, and Oat)
What better mineral that can prevent osteoporosis alongside Vitamin D than Calcium? Calcium is an essential mineral that serves to ensure that your muscle, nerve, and red blood cells function properly. Even though you receive calcium from your bones, it never hurts to supplement it with a direct food source. Want to ensure proper bone and dental health? Make sure not to wane on your calcium consumption.
Sources: Milks (Soy, Almond, Dairy and Oat), Cheese, Soya Beans, Tofu, Green Leafy Vegetables (Broccoli, Cabbage, Okra), Nuts, Fish (Sardines and Pilchards), Bread (Includes anything with fortified flower)
Another health consequence of growing older is becoming more prone to sickness as a result of your immune system getting weaker. Fear not, though, because this is easily preventable thanks to probiotic supplements. Probiotics play a pivotal role in incorporating more gut-healthy bacteria that create the optimal conditions for proper nutrient reabsorption and a stronger immune system.
Sources: Yogurt, Sauerkraut, Miso Soup, Fermented Soft Cheeses (Gouda), Kefir, Acidophilus Milk, Sour Pickles, Tempeh, Pill Supplements, Kimchi, Kombucha
Age Range: 60s
Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the most ideal supplements for lessening the effects of cognitive decline. As seniors age, they lose the ability to absorb Omega-3 fatty acids, which in turn results in reduced cognitive functioning and impaired memory retention. With continual Omega-3 consumption, the brain will enjoy sustained growth and reinforcement of both brain cells and blood flow. Ultimately, it can lead to improved overall cognitive functioning.
Sources: Nuts/Seeds (Chia seeds, Walnuts, etc.), Fish and other seafood sources ( Tuna, Salmon, Mackerel, Herring, and Sardines), Plant Oils (Soybean Oil and Canola Oil), Eggs, Yogurt, Soy Beverages
How can Vitamin B6 help you? Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble supplement that can help seniors in a wide range of ways. This vitamin supplement, aside from being found in sources other than tablets, can improve your mental functioning by reducing symptoms of depression and elevating your mood. Furthermore, Vitamin B6 can reduce the possibility of developing heart disease by preventing hardened arteries, in addition to minimizing the risk of suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.
Sources: Pill Supplements, Pork, Poultry (Chicken or Turkey), Soya Beans, Peanuts, Eggs, Milk, Potatoes, Vegetables, Fish, Fortified breakfast cereals, Wholegrain cereals such as Oatmeal, Brown Rice, or Wheatgerm
A not-so-commonly mentioned mineral supplement, zinc, is just as important for seniors as any of the other minerals and vitamins mentioned in this list. This mineral plays a crucial role in maintaining your senses of sight and smell. Moreover, zinc is able to ward off any signs of infection or inflammation, which occur quite frequently in your 60s.
Sources: Oysters, Red meat, Poultry (Chicken or Turkey), Baked beans, Pill Supplements, Chickpeas, Almonds, Spinach, Salmon, Asparagus, Cacao, Watermelon, and Pumpkin Seeds
Age Range: 70s
Magnesium is one of those essential nutrients best recognized for its ability to ensure proper bone health and high energy production in the body. Beyond these initial benefits, magnesium is also able to regulate muscle function, diminish sleeping irregularities, and create more protein for the body. All of these benefits are essential for optimal health in an aging body.
Sources: Pumpkin, Spinach, Artichoke, Soybeans, Tofu, Brown Rice, Pill Supplements, Avocados, Nuts, Dark Chocolate, Legumes, Bananas, Leafy Greens
We can’t forget to mention how Vitamin B-12 offers both short and long-term benefits for seniors. Vitamin B-12’s role in our body is not only to create a sustained source of energy, but it is also tasked with creating DNA, the prime tool of genetic material in the body. Additionally, this vitamin helps ensure that our nerves and blood cells are healthy at all times. It is worth noting that Vitamin B-12 is mainly found in animal-based food sources.
Sources: Fish (Salmon and Cod), Pill Supplements, Milk, Cheese, Eggs, Fortified breakfast cereals, Poultry (Chicken and Turkey)
When you’re 65+ and older, it isn’t uncommon to develop an iron deficiency. Iron deficiencies occur due in part to low or improper intake and absorption of iron into the body. As a result of iron deficiency, anemia becomes a prevalent condition where not enough oxygen is being carried to your organs and other tissues.
The symptoms of anemia can range from mild to severe. It often leaves individuals feeling weak or tired. Nevertheless, through iron supplementation, seniors can experience increased brain functioning, heightened energy, and a healthy red blood cell supply.
Sources: Pill Supplements, Liver, Meat, Beans, Nuts, Dried fruits (Apricots), Soy Bean flour, Fortified breakfast cereals, Wholegrains such as brown rice