By Ravinder Machra, M.D.
Did you know that as you age, your body requires larger amounts of certain vitamins and minerals?
Calcium, fiber, potassium, and vitamins C, E, D and B12 are among the nutrients commonly lacking in adults older than age 50. These essential vitamins and minerals perform a variety of important functions in your body, including:
• Supporting bone health
Older women are especially prone to osteoporosis, a disorder characterized by weak and brittle bones. Calcium and vitamin D play key roles in bone health, as calcium helps strengthen your bones and vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium from foods.
• Decreasing your risk of chronic disease
Vitamin B12 has been linked to lower levels of dementia and memory problems, while vitamins C and E may help prevent heart disease and lower your risk of developing certain cancers. Potassium also helps regulate your blood pressure, which can improve your heart health.
• Preventing anemia
Individuals who don’t get enough vitamin B12 are at a greater risk of developing anemia, which can cause fatigue and weakness.
• Helping you maintain a healthy weight
Eating foods rich in fiber helps you better manage your weight and lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
MAKING WISE SELECTIONS
The foods you eat play an important role in determining whether or not you receive adequate amounts of key vitamins and minerals. Give your health a boost by incorporating the following five foods into your diet:
1. Low-fat or fat-free dairy products
Milk, cheese, yogurt, and even an occasional bowl of frozen yogurt or low-fat ice cream are good sources of calcium.
2. Leafy green vegetables
Eating your greens provides a boost of calcium, folate, and vitamins A, C and E.
Rich in vitamin C, fresh or frozen blueberries also contain high amounts of fiber.
4. Whole grains
Whole grains, including brown rice and whole-wheat bread, are good sources of fiber. To get the best bang for your nutritional buck, choose cereals and other grains fortified with vitamins D and B12.
5. Lean red meat, fish and poultry
Meats and fish are excellent sources of protein and also contain many important nutrients, including vitamin B12.
THE MULTIVITAMIN QUESTION
While aging and taking some medications can affect your body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients and leave you at a greater risk for deficiency, consuming too much of any one vitamin or mineral poses its own health risks. Your best bet? Eat a balanced diet and speak with your doctor about whether a daily supplement or multivitamin is right for you.
Do you need help formulating your nutrition plan? Talk with your primary care physician or make an appointment with a dietician.
At Tennova, we offer a wide range of services designed to meet your health and wellness needs. Visit www.Tennova.com or call 1-855-TENNOVA (836-6682) to learn more about our services.
About the Author
Ravinder Machra, M.D., sees patients at Tennova Internal Medicine located at 1067 Vendall Road, Suite A in Dyersburg. Dr. Machra is also a member of the medical staff at Tennova Healthcare – Dyersburg.
About Tennova Healthcare
One of the state’s largest health networks, Tennova Healthcare includes 16 hospitals and more than 115 physician clinics. The combined network has approximately 2,600 licensed beds, 2,800 physicians on the combined active medical staffs, and 9,000 employees, with more than 70,000 admissions and 465,000 emergency department visits each year. Tennova Healthcare – Regional Jackson is owned, in part, by physicians. Learn more at www.Tennova.com.