5 Essential Nutrients To Maximize Your Health As You Age
When we think about getting older, our minds usually get pulled to our appearance (wait, is that a new gray hair?!). But there’s a lot more to aging than those dreaded grays. While the outer signs of aging are obvious, there are plenty of biological and hormonal changes taking place inside the body that are less noticeable, such as the shift in your body’s nutrient needs.
As we age, our nutrient requirements change a lot. Our bodies go from a focus on growth and development to maintenance and repair, and knowing which nutrients become especially important over our golden years is key to a healthy ageing process.
Boost your Calcium Intake
In the body, calcium is vital for building and protecting our teeth and bones. As we age, the skeleton loses calcium and bone breakdown exceeds bone formation. The bones can become thin and fragile, increasing the risk of osteoporosis, so getting enough in your diet is really important for lifelong bone health!
Calcium is particularly important for women, compared to men, as a result of hormonal changes that occur over menopause.
The amount of calcium you need can vary with age or medical conditions, but in general, adults should have around 1,000mg a day, and if you're over the age of 50, increase the dose to 1,200mg per day. It’s worth ensuring that you’re also consuming plenty of calcium-rich foods, including leafy green veggies, dried figs, oranges, whole grains, kidney beans, chickpeas, tofu and nuts.
Get Plenty of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption and helps maximize bone health. In the body, vitamin D helps to maintain calcium and phosphorous levels, which are important in keeping bones and teeth healthy.
As we get older, our bodies get less efficient at using vitamin D, so it’s really important to keep on top of your vitamin D intake.
For this reason, it's recommended that over-65s take a vitamin D supplement of 10 micrograms every day. Why not even spend a little time outdoors, especially if the sun is shining! Try to catch some sunshine for 10-15 minutes a day without sunscreen.
Opt for Omega-3 Supplements
These healthy fats are important across all stages of life. Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory in nature and can help prevent the risk of a range of chronic conditions, including heart disease and cognitive decline in older people. The fatty acids may even help increase joint lubrication and reduce inflammatory markers, making it a super addition to your supplement routine.
From a nutritional point of view, potassium requirements do not typically change as you age. BUT, potassium is an important nutrient to prioritize, as it helps to keep your blood pressure in check, and therefore helps to reduce your risk of heart disease. Plus, it also turns out that getting enough potassium may also help neutralize acids that remove calcium from the bones, keeping your bones nice and strong.
Load up on potassium by eating foods like bananas, sweet potatoes, white potatoes (with the skin on), lentils and avocados.
Electrolytes are salts and minerals, such as Sodium, Potassium, Chloride and Bicarbonate, which are found in the blood that help conduct electrical impulses in the body. Our product has been blended with Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Calcium and Magnesium for added benefits.
Eat loads more Fibre
As you age, the muscles in your GI tract can weaken, and this causes a slow down that can lead to constipation - enter fibre. A diet rich in fibre can help reduce complications with constipation, so be sure to eat plenty of unprocessed, natural foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables rich in fibre, to help kick constipation symptoms.
One of the quickest and easiest ways to boost your fibre intake is by including psyllium husk in your diet. Naturally occurring and plant-derived, psyllium husk is a rich source of fibre, making it perfect for those looking to add some extra fibre to their diet.
Riya Lakhani ANutr is a registered nutritionist and health writer with a special interest in plant-based nutrition. She has completed a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Human Nutrition, and has developed a passion for writing about all things plant-based.