As you get older, your body’s needs are changing. This has been true your whole life, but seniors can get a lot of benefits from a small change in habits. Study after study has found just how these changes affect seniors and what can be done about it. Often, something as simple as taking a daily vitamin and changing your diet can make you feel years younger.
The National Institutes of Health has found vitamin B12 deficiencies affect between 10% and 15% of adults over 60 (See the NIH Vitamin D Study Here) and some estimates show that about half of adults in the U.S. are deficient in Vitamin D. (See the NIH Vitamin D Study Here) More importantly, a shortage of these vitamins can cause seniors to lose bone and muscle density as well as depression? When you think that simply watching what you eat and taking vitamins can fix many of the common issues, it has to catch your attention.
The list of common vitamin deficiencies for Americans goes on and on. When we are younger, our bodies can compensate for vitamin shortages, but as you pass 60, not having the vitamins you need can have a bigger and bigger impact on your quality of life.
If you are over 60 and find yourself feeling:
- Just generally run down.
You may find that vitamins designed for seniors and a change in diet can make a big difference, and this change can often happen in just a few weeks. If these symptoms are severe or continue after taking vitamins, please consult with your doctor, but for many seniors, just getting your body what it needs can turn the clock back for your energy, mood, and help you recover from minor injuries that might heal more slowly if you are not getting all of the vitamins your body needs.
If you feel that this change will help you, here are some tips on Vitamins and diet for seniors:
- Make sure you are getting enough Vitamin D (to help you absorb Calcium and improve mood), Vitamin B including B6, B12 and folic acid (to improve memory and alertness), as well as Vitamin K (for Osteoporosis). After 50, your stomach will often not process vitamin B as well as before, so will need more to meet your body’s needs. Vitamins designed for seniors will typically have a good balance of all of these and will accomodate your body’s changing needs.
- Drink water. As we age, your sense of thirst is reduced and your body will not regulate fluids as efficiently. This can make it very easy for seniors to become dehydrated, leading to feeling tired, urinary tract infections or other health complications.
- Choose whole grains, they have more nutrients and fiber and are much better for seniors.
- Have whole fruit rather than juice. They often have more nutrients for your body and less sugar.
- Vegetables. Eat about 2 cups a day. While you are younger you can often skip them but after 50, including vegetables in your diet becomes very important to make sure you get a good balance of vitamins and minerals and to round out your diet.
- Most seniors need 0.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Protein is important for seniors to maintain muscle mass and overall health. To avoid eating too much chicken or beef, consider balancing your diet with fish, nuts, beans, eggs milk or cheese.
Remember to consider your health. If you have health problems that make shopping for healthy foods difficult, ask for assistance from friends and family, or find a local home care provider to help you for just a few hours each week with this task. If Alzheimer’s or arthritis are making it more difficult to prepare meals, be sure to consider help in getting a balanced diet as symptoms for both conditions can worsten without proper nutrition. If you are not sure how to make sure your nutritional needs are met, an in home senior care provider or a quality assisted living home will also help you with your vitamin and dietary needs.
Remember, a balanced diet and use of vitamins can help seniors of almost any age. This is an easy opportunity to improve your health and to get more out of your golden years. It is an opportunity that should not be missed.