As we age, achieving adequate nutrition is a challenge.
According to WebMD, the amount of calories a person needs declines with age. This means there is a greater importance to ensuring that the calories you consume contain a variety of important nutrients your body needs. Here are eight key nutrients you might be missing, and the simple ways to ensure you get enough.
1. Vitamin B12 is an important nutrient for creating DNA and red blood cells.
What to eat: Fish, meat, eggs, and milk. You can also talk to your doctor about whether or not you should take a B12 supplement.
2. Calcium is important for maintaining and building strong bones. Without an adequate amount of calcium your bones are at greater risk of fracturing.
What to eat: Make sure to have three servings a day of low-fat milk or other dairy products. Broccoli and kale are also good sources of calcium. If you’re unable to consume dairy products or an adequate amount, talk to your doctor about finding a supplement.
3. Vitamin D “helps the body absorb calcium, maintain bone density, and prevent osteoporosis,” says Kathleen Zelman, R.D. Director of Nutrition for WebMD.
What to eat: Juices, milk, cereals, some types of yogurt.
4. Potassium is an essential mineral vital to cell function and may also help keep bones strong. Research has shown potassium helps to reduce the risk of kidney stones and high blood pressure.
What to eat: The best sources of potassium come from fruits and vegetables. Potatoes, plums and bananas are especially high in potassium.
5. Magnesium can help keep your heart healthy, your immune system in shape, and your bones strong.
What to eat: Try to stay away from processed foods. Instead, try adding some fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, and whole grains to your diet.
6. Fiber helps to protect against heart disease as well as promote healthy digestion.
What to eat: Try adding more grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables to your diet to increase fiber content. Examples include: barley, oatmeal, citrus fruits and pears.
7. Omega- 3 Fats include slowing the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is a disease of reduced vision in the elderly. Another benefit is that is reduces symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
What to eat: It is recommended that you consume at least two servings of fish a week. Examples include: tuna, sardines and salmon. Some vegetable sources include walnuts, soybeans and canola oil.
8. Water is an essential nutrient that is crucial to maintaining good health. Some medications prescribed have side effects that include an increased risk of dehydration. Water is also extremely important if a person is increasing fiber in their diet, because fiber absorbs water.
What to do: “Nutritionists recommend you drink 3 to 5 large glasses of water each day,” says Zelan. A key sign to know if you’re drinking the right amount of fluids is the color of your urine. The color should be pale yellow. If it’s too bright or too dark, that means you need to be drinking more.