Nutrients You May Be Missing

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Posted on: 27 November 2014 by Andrew Newitt

Getting sufficient nutrition becomes can be challenging as you grow older and it is important to understand and provide for its needs.

Your body requires fewer calories with age and for this reason, every meal you eat has to be rich in nutrients. But even eating a healthy diet may not provide all the nutrients that your body requires. This is because your body’s ability to absorb nutrients diminishes as you age. Your appetite may also be reduced and you may have difficulties digesting or chewing certain foods. There are certain significant nutrients that you may be missing out on with age including: 

Potassium

This nutrient is vital for healthy bones. Potassium is an essential mineral that the body also requires for good cell function. Research has also revealed that it can lower high blood pressure and reduce your risk of developing kidney stones. You need at least 4,700 mg of this mineral each day. To increase your potassium intake, include a variety of vegetables and fruits in your diet. Some of the best sources include potatoes with skins on, bananas, and prunes. 

Vitamin D

Your body requires this vitamin to prevent osteoporosis, absorb calcium, and ensure you have good bone density. This nutrient has also been identified as essential in the prevention of various chronic conditions such as type 1 diabetes, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. As an older adult, lack of this nutrient makes you prone to falls. 

To get adequate amounts of this nutrient, you need to consume more eggs, tuna, and salmon. It can also be obtained by exposing your skin to the sun but this becomes a challenge among older people. This is because your skin’s ability to produce this nutrient after sun exposure is limited with age. It is advisable to consult your doctor to determine if supplements are necessary in your case. 

Folic Acid

A folic acid deficiency makes you prone to anemia. You are more likely to miss this nutrient if your diet does not contain a wide variety of vegetables and fruits. Eating fortified cereals can ensure you get adequate folic acid. 

Calcium

You need calcium to build and maintain strong bones. Older adults consume less calcium and this makes you more likely to suffer from fractures and brittle bones. When you do not eat enough calcium, your body absorbs what is in your bones, weakening them. One of the best ways to ensure you get adequate calcium is to increase your milk intake. Low-fat milk is recommended. You can also cheese and yoghurt for calcium. Broccoli and kale are great non-dairy sources of this nutrient.

Dairy products are recommended as a source of calcium because they also provide proteins, which your body requires for good bone health. For older adults who have to limit or eliminate dairy products from their diet, consult your doctor and determine whether you should use supplements. Natural sources are always a better option if you need to increase your calcium intake. 

Magnesium

This nutrient is required for various physiological processes. Adequate magnesium will boost your immune system, maintain heart health, and strengthen your bones. It is found in several whole foods including vegetables, seeds, grains, nut, and fruits. 

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