Experts say we should attempt to get all the vitamins and minerals we need from the foods we eat. But unfortunately, that’s not possible for many of us who are on the go and don’t take the time to prepare healthful meals every day. And as we get older, our bodies go through major physiological changes, says nutritional expert Tara Collingwood M.S., RDN, co-author of “Flat Belly Cookbook for Dummies.”
“Men and women are susceptible to bone loss, muscle loss, hormonal changes, and the dreaded middle-age spread,” says the Orlando-based dietitian. “We see and feel these changes in our achy joints, vision impairment, heart complications, weight gain, decreased memory retention, and lack of energy — all of which are tied directly to nutrition.”
And even if we do eat a healthy diet, chances are we are not getting the nutrients we need from food that comes from soil depleted of its natural wealth of nutrients and from over-processing.
According to Aging in Beauty, dietary supplements can help some people get adequate amounts of essential nutrients. Here’s what experts recommend for people over 50:
- A good multivitamin formulated for seniors. There are many different brands to choose from, experts note.
- Calcium for strong bones. Taking calcium supplements may reduce the risk of bone fractures. Experts say that because it is a bulky supplement, you won’t find adequate amounts in most multivitamins. Ask your healthcare professional for advice on choosing the right supplement and dosage.
- AREDS for eye health. The National Eye Institute completed the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2, known as AREDS2, and showed that a supplemental formulation that contains vitamin C, zinc, vitamin E, lutein, and zeaxanthin may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, and prevent cataracts from forming. “I would recommend taking an AREDS2 that also contains omega-3 fatty acids to prevent AMD and dry eye in older individuals,” says Dr. Cary Silverman, a New Jersey-based ophthalmologist. There are several formulations available online and at health food stores. Follow the recommended dosage on the label.
- Vitamin D for immunity and cardiovascular health. Lisa Lynn, best known as Martha Stewart’s trainer and the bestselling author of “The Metabolism Solution,” says that our vitamin D requirements go up as we age, yet we tend to get less of it. It’s estimated that one in four Americans aged 50 to 70 are not getting enough vitamin D, which is needed to absorb calcium. “It helps with bone health, but also reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke, allergy and asthma and inflammation,” notes Dr. Tod Cooperman, president of ConsumerLab.com. The National Institutes of Health recommends 600 IU daily for adults over the age of 50 and 800 IU for those over 80.
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