Eating Well, Aging Well
Did you know that your biological age may be older than your chronological age? Someone of 68 may have a health age of 80 if the diet lacks key nutrients. Add foods that replace missing vitamins and minerals to slow down the aging process. Here are five nutrients and their sources that help increase vitality, plus a recommendation to reduce salt.
- Water – sometimes called the “Forgotten Nutrient,” water helps to move oxygen and minerals throughout your body and eliminate waste products. Drinking water is like taking a shower under your skin. Add just two 8-ounce glasses more than you normally do.
- Vitamin D – the true “Sunshine Vitamin” comes from the sun’s effect on our skin! Non-burning sun exposure is valuable, but without sunshine you may need supplemental Vitamin D. Vitamin D keeps bones strong, with calcium and magnesium, and can reduce inflammation in the heart and joints. Milk is usually fortified with vitamin D.
- Magnesium – helps bone health, improves immunity, and regulates muscle and heart function. Its main dietary sources include beans, peas, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and leafy green vegetables.
- Vitamin C – assists the immune system, builds connective tissue to support bones, skin, and muscles, and also increases iron absorption. Good sources include red peppers, oranges, strawberries, and broccoli. Vitamin C is easily lost after picking, so the fresher, the better!
- Fiber – which comes from plants, holds water, improves bowel function, and decreases the risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. The best sources are legumes, whole grains, berries, apples, and flax seed meal. Ten grams a day is average, 25-30 grams a day are recommended.
What about sodium? Some salt, or sodium, is essential, but too much is hard on your heart and kidneys. An average salt intake is 5,000mg, mostly from processed foods. The American Heart Association recommends 2,500mg of sodium, about one teaspoon per day, or 500-600mg per meal.
Scientists continue to discover benefits of important nutrients, especially for older people. Take advantage of your nutrition powerhouses by eating simple, locally produced foods, which typically contain more vitamins and minerals, and taste good too!
Article Provided by:
Julia Hanfling, Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, Certified Specialist in Gerontology Nutrition
Stay at Home America