Essential vitamins and minerals for seniors

Getting enough essential vitamins and minerals is an essential part of maintaining good health, especially with age. Changing nutritional needs and dietary restrictions can affect vitamin intake over time. This makes it difficult to get the nutrients needed to keep bones and muscles strong and ensure that other systems in the body are functioning properly. Here is a list of vitamins and minerals that adults 55 and older can consider taking daily, along with the benefits they provide.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A protects vision, strengthens the immune system, and helps the heart and lungs function properly. The The National Institutes of Health recommend 900 mcg for men and 700 mcg for women. Food sources include spinach, eggs, fish, milk, beef liver, cantaloupe, mangoes, and broccoli.

Vitamin B1 (thiamine)

Vitamin B1 converts food into energy and helps regulate cell function. NIH recommends 1.2 mg for men and 1.1 mg for women. Food sources include whole grains, cereals, pasta, rice, legumes, seeds, nuts, pork, and fish.

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)

Vitamin B2 promotes the growth, development and function of cells. NIH recommends 1.3 mg for men and 1.1 mg for women. Food sources include asparagus, spinach, broccoli, eggs, organ meats, fortified cereals, bread and cereals.

Vitamin B3 (niacin)

Vitamin B3 converts food into energy and regulates the development and function of cells. NIH recommends 16 mg for men and 14 mg for women per day. Food sources include poultry, beef, pork, fish, legumes, nuts, cereals and fortified cereals.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 strengthens the immune system and helps metabolism. NIH recommends 1.7 mcg for men and 1.5 mcg for women. Food sources include potatoes, starchy vegetables, fish, poultry, and organ meats.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 regulates nerve function and helps in the formation of red blood cells. NIH recommends 2.4 mcg for all adults. Food sources include beef liver, clams, fish, poultry, eggs, and fortified breakfast cereals.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent free radicals from harming cells in the body. It also helps in healing wounds and improves the absorption of iron by the body. NIH recommends 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women. Food sources include oranges, orange juice, grapefruit, grapefruit juice, broccoli, cantaloupe, strawberries, tomatoes, and potatoes.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium to strengthen bones and help prevent osteoporosis. It also helps the immune system fight bacteria and viruses, supports muscle function, and helps nerves carry messages between the brain and the body. NIH recommends 15 mcg (600 IU) for adults aged 19 to 70 and 20 mcg (800 IU) for adults 71 years and older. Food sources include milk, fortified cereals, orange juice, yogurt, salmon, tuna, and other fatty fish.


Vitamin E

Vitamin E protects the body from free radicals as an antioxidant. It helps open blood vessels to prevent clots and stimulates the immune system to fight bacteria and viruses. NIH recommends 15 mg for all adults. Food sources include vegetable oils, wheat germ, tree nuts like peanuts and almonds, broccoli, and spinach.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K helps blood clot and promotes bone health. NIH recommends 120 mcg for men 19 and over and 90 mcg for women 19 and over. Food sources include green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, kale, spinach and broccoli, blueberries, figs, meat, cheese, eggs, and soybeans.

Calcium

Calcium helps keep bones and teeth strong and healthy. It also helps the muscles to move and the nerves carry messages between the brain and the body. Plus, this powerful mineral helps blood vessels move blood throughout the body and releases essential hormones and enzymes that support multiple bodily functions.

NIH recommends 1000 mg for adult males 51 to 70 years old, 1200 mg for adult females 51 to 70 years old and 1200 mg for all adults 71 years of age and over. Food sources include milk, yogurt, cheese, kale, broccoli, sardines and canned salmon, most grains, and other fortified foods as listed on the label.

Folate

Folate helps the body make DNA and genetic material. NIH recommends 400 mcg of daily folate equivalents (DFE) for adults 19 years and older. Food sources include asparagus, Brussels sprouts, spinach, oranges and orange juice, nuts, beans and peas.

Magnesium

Magnesium regulates nerve and muscle function, blood pressure and blood sugar, and helps build protein, DNA, and bones. The NIH recommends 400-420 mg for men and 310-320 mg for women. Food sources include legumes, nuts, seeds, spinach, milk, yogurt, and fortified cereals.

Potassium

Potassium helps multiple vital functions including heart and kidney function, nerve transmission, and muscle contraction. NIH recommends 3,400 mg for men 19 years of age and over and 2,600 mg for women 19 years and over. Food sources include prunes, raisins, bananas, orange juice, potatoes, spinach, broccoli, acorn squash, kidney beans, soy, lentils, meat, fish and poultry.

Food vs supplements

According to Diet Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025, people should “follow a healthy diet at every stage of life” and “focus on meeting the needs of food groups with nutrient-dense foods and drinks and staying within calorie limits.” The main food groups are vegetables, fruits, grains, proteins, dairy products and oils. Many experts agree that eating the right foods is the best way to get the necessary nutrients.

However, changes associated with aging, such as tooth loss, chronic disease, and changes in appetite, can impact the amount of nutrients a body absorbs or a person’s ability to eat certain foods. food. In this case, older people may need to take a vitamin or mineral supplement to get what they need to maximize their health and stay as active as possible.

An important note: You should always consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, including vitamin and mineral supplements. Taking more than recommended amounts can be harmful.

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