Maintaining a healthy diet is difficult for anyone. However, as we age, our appetites decline along with our activity levels. This often makes it difficult for seniors to get all the proper micronutrients they need for proper health. A deficiency in micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) can cause serious health issues, especially for senior individuals.
The Institute of Medicine has established guidelines for the intake of 24 nutrients. While each serves an important role in our overall health, there are six nutrients most seniors are lacking and pose the most risk if proper amounts are not consumed.
Calcium – dairy and leafy greens can deliver this nutrient crucial for maintaining bone density and strength.
Folate – as one of many B vitamins, folate helps reduce signs of aging, helps cognitive functioning, and can even lower depression rates.
Magnesium – nuts, seeds, and whole grains deliver this mineral to help process glucose and regulate blood pressure.
Vitamin B12 – our bodies are constantly regenerating cells where this vitamin plays a critical role in creating healthy DNA and red blood cells.
Vitamin D – seniors may not receive enough sunlight to reap the bone health and immune boosting this important vitamin provides.
Vitamin E – less than 10% of seniors are getting enough vitamin E which supports the immune system and acts as an antioxidant.
There are a number of reasons why seniors may not be getting enough micronutrients. For some, a loss of appetite alone could be enough to starve the body of important vitamins and minerals. Others may forget to include foods that include proper nutrients or have financial constraints limiting their meal selections.
Fortunately, vitamins and minerals may be taken as a supplement. Reasonably priced, supplements can offer an affordable way to get all the vitamins and minerals necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle. As with any medical consideration, it is important to speak with a physician to learn where your micronutrient deficiencies may lie, the best way to increase their levels, and if there are any medication or other health concerns to be concerned about.