Aging is inevitable; as we age, our bodies undergo various physiological changes that can lead to chronic health conditions. Therefore, caring for our health has become increasingly important. It helps you maintain your independence and improve your quality of life. Finding and sticking to good habits can also reduce your risk of developing severe illnesses like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and hypertension.
Besides eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, managing stress, and seeking immediate medical attention, you can stay healthy by investing in dietary supplements. However, you should use them carefully and seek professional advice to ensure their safety and effectiveness.
If you're ready to enjoy your golden years healthily, this article is your guide to understanding dietary supplements for older adults.
What Are Dietary Supplements?
Dietary supplements are products you can take to enhance the nutrients in your diet or reduce the risk of osteoporosis and arthritis. These supplements are available in various forms like pills, powders, capsules, extracts, and liquids and may contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, amino acids, herbs, plants, or enzymes. Occasionally, you can add the ingredients in these supplements to certain foods and beverages.
What Should You Do If You're Considering Taking Dietary Supplements?
Before taking any supplement, learn about it, be aware of the source of information, and talk to your doctor. Remember that not all "natural" supplements are safe or suitable for you, and they could interact with other medications.
You should also choose brands that experts recommend and not buy supplements with unnecessary ingredients. Never assume that more is better; check the scientific proof behind any claims. Also, look for the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) verified mark and be cautious of advertisements making unrealistic promises.
4 Recommended Vitamins and Minerals for Older Adults
As you reach your fifties, your body may need more vitamins and minerals than younger individuals. Here are some essential nutrients your doctor or dietician may recommend when looking for healthy dietary supplements.
Vitamin D and calcium help keep bones strong. You can find this mineral in milk, canned fish, dark-green leafy vegetables, and cereals with added calcium.
2. Vitamin B6
This essential vitamin is responsible for making red blood cells, and you can find Vitamin B6 in potatoes, bananas, chicken, and fortified cereals.
3. Vitamin B12
Healthy red blood cells and nerves need sufficient amounts of Vitamin B12. However, older adults may struggle to absorb it naturally and must eat fortified foods or take a supplement. Vegetarians and vegans may also be at greater risk of deficiency. Moreover, consult your doctor about whether a B12 supplement is necessary.
4. Vitamin D
Many people in the United States don't consume the recommended amount of vitamin D. Therefore, you should consult a doctor and consider consuming vitamin D-fortified food items like milk, milk products, cereals, and fatty fish. Your healthcare provider can also recommend a Vitamin D supplement.
What Are the Vitamin and Mineral Recommendations for People over 50?
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend how much of each vitamin and mineral people of different ages and genders should consume. It includes specific daily amounts of vitamins like B12, B6, D, and calcium. For example, women over 50 need more calcium than men of the same age, and individuals over 70 require more vitamin D.
What Are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are natural substances in food that may protect you from some diseases. Common antioxidants include beta-carotene, selenium, vitamin C, and vitamin E. However, don't take large doses of antioxidant supplements because they could harm you and may not prevent chronic diseases. Also, talk to your doctor before taking supplements.
Dietary supplements can help older adults live better during their golden years, but they only work if individuals use them properly. You can stay healthy with age by pairing supplements with a healthy lifestyle and consulting your doctor before trying a new product.
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