Proper nutrition is very important for healthy aging. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that inactivity and poor diet causes between 310,000 and 580,000 deaths each year, contributing significantly to many conditions and diseases such as stroke, diabetes, obesity etc.
So, what should you eat to age well? Here's what research tells us.
The effect of nutrition on the brain
Diet doesn’t only increase overall health and longevity, but it also maintains a healthy mind.
What about certain nutrients? Are there certain things older people need more than younger adults? Possibly. Here are some specific nutrients that people may need as they get older.
Vitamin D and Calcium
Our bones lose their density as we get older. This is especially true for women. To counter this, seniors may need to supplement their diet with vitamin D and calcium, which strengthens the bones when working together. While many people turn to dairy to achieve this goal, there are other foods that are high in calcium and don’t contain cholesterol. These include white beans, broccoli, dark leafy vegetables, and almonds. Sardines are also rich in calcium. In addition, greens have vitamin K, another nutrient important for maintaining healthy bones. High vitamin-D foods include fatty fish such as beef liver, egg yolk, salmon, and vitamin D-enriched foods.
Seniors have a higher risk of being deficient of vitamin B12, which can lead to fatigue, tingling in the extremities of the body, and memory loss. One study found that seniors with low B12 levels had a higher risk of cognitive decline and brain shrinkage. Foods that are rich in vitamin B12 include eggs, fish, and red meat.
Your cells need magnesium to maintain proper blood sugar levels, blood pressure, proper nerve, and muscle function and making protein and DNA. Magnesium is especially important for maintaining a healthy heart. Older adults are at a higher risk of having heart disease, and magnesium has been shown to improve heart health. Too little magnesium in your diet may render vitamin D ineffective. Magnesium is found in vegetables, fresh fruits, beans, nuts, whole grains, and seeds.
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