Vitamins and minerals are the building blocks of good health for everyone, regardless of age. With infection-fighting, blood clotting and energy-producing properties, among other benefits, it’s vital that we get enough – but not too much – of these nutrients.
However, these needs change as we age, and it’s important for seniors to talk with their doctors to ensure that their particular nutritional needs are being met. While it’s always best to get vitamins and minerals from fresh foods, when available, a supplement may sometimes be recommended as we age.
In particular, the National Institute on Aging highlights these five vitamins and minerals as being crucial for seniors in the right quantities:
- Vitamin D: For those over age 70, a level of between 800 and 4,000 IU is recommended (up from the 600 – 4,000 IU recommended for ages 50 – 70). Good sources for vitamin D include milk, fish, fish oil and some cereals.
- Vitamin B6: Found in liver and other organ meats, whole grains, and some cereals, women need 1.5 mg each day, while the need increases for men to 1.7 mg.
- Vitamin B12: For those over age 50, absorption of vitamin B12 from food can be a problem, so a supplement may be required. It’s found naturally in milk, fish, poultry, meat and some cereals.
- Folate: With a recommended daily requirement of 400 mcg per day, folate can be found in dark green or leafy vegetables (spinach, beans, peas, etc.) or as folic acid in fortified flour and cereals.
- Calcium: Calcium in the right amount is crucial for the elderly, since risk for bone loss is a factor. Calcium can be consumed naturally through milk products, soybeans, sardines and salmon, and dark green or leafy vegetables, or through a supplement.
AAging Better trains its caregivers to use these recommendations when planning or cooking meals for clients in order to better keep our seniors and disabled healthy. We’ll even do the grocery shopping and clean up after each meal, and provide friendly companionship to make meals less lonely and more satisfying. Contact us at 208-777-0308 or 208-263-7889 to learn more!