Eating good nutrition is important during any life stage. The ideal life is happy, healthy, and fully satisfied. However, there are some struggles and challenges that seniors face as they age. Certain physical and emotional changes accompany old age. Therefore, exercise and eating sound nutrition can be a struggle. These changes affect their overall health condition. Yet eating adequate amounts of nutrition can become an easier task. What exactly are good sources of food for seniors to eat? Below is a micronutrient review for a senior around 65 years and older.
Recommended Vitamins for the Senior
The daily life for a senior may include visits from family members, working on projects, and especially eating meals. Therefore, seniors need a healthy amount of vitamins and minerals. With adequate amounts of them, our body can regulate properly including preventing certain ailments. Below are the vitamins and minerals needed in a senior’s diet.
Vitamin A enhances vision, helps cell growth, bone health, and immunity (Blake, 2019, pp. 235). This vitamin is found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables like cantaloupe and sweet potatoes. 700 mcg to 900 mcg is the RDA (recommended dietary allowance) for a senior.
Vitamin D naturally comes from sunlight. However, our skin’s ability to make this vitamin declines with age (pp. 586). A senior may need to take 800 IU (international unit) daily from foods like fatty fish or eggy yolks (pp. 586). Also, this vitamin is found in fatty fish and egg yolks.
Vitamin B12 helps the body’s nerve and blood cells regulate. It also prevents anemia, which causes fatigue and weakness. Typically, people around the age of 65 years and older have a hard time absorbing this vitamin naturally. It is found in animal protein, eggs, and milk. To combat the chemical change in our body’s around 65 years and older, the daily recommended intake is 2.4 mcg from a synthetic form (pp. 586).
Recommended Minerals for the Senior
Minerals are micronutrients like vitamins. A senior needs to include these minerals in their diet for optimal health. Below are the types of minerals that will help seniors stay healthy.
Iron is a very common deficiency throughout different age groups. Iron-rich foods include red meat, dark leafy greens, sea food, and fortified cereals. Seniors may experience intestinal blood loss, kidney disease, and arthritis from low amounts of iron in their body (pp. 586). The recommended daily amount for this age group is 8 mg.
Zinc is another mineral found in lean meat, poultry, dairy, legumes, and fortified cereals. The body does not have a storage form for this mineral. Therefore, 8-11 mg is recommended for seniors. A zinc deficiency may lead to a low immune system and blunted sense of taste (pp. 586).
Calcium is a very necessary mineral for all life stages. Three daily servings in food and beverages fortified with calcium is recommended. Examples of these foods are dairy, cheese, orange juice, and cereal. About 1,200 milligrams is needed daily for this age group (pp. 587).
Sodium is the another mineral that a senior will need to consume. The daily recommended amount should be around 2,300 milligrams or less to help reduce the risk of high blood pressure (pp. 587). Also, people who have diabetes or chronic kidney disease may need to make further modifications in their sodium intake (pp. 587).
Eating adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals will help our bodies endure throughout life. It’s best to make a decision today and talk to your doctor about the nutrients needed to sustain your health!
For more nutrient recommendations, check out the National Institutes of Health website: https://ods.od.nih.gov/HealthInformation/Dietary_Reference_Intakes.aspx
Author: Jamie Moore Sam Houston State University Pre-Nursing
Blake, J. S. (2019). Nutrition & You (5th Edition) (5th ed.). Pearson.