When people think about what it takes to combat aging, they often think about the physical.
What eye cream is most effective? How do you reduce the appearance of wrinkles?
However, aging is so much more than what meets the eye. In fact, it is a biological process that is best described as the deterioration of numerous physiological functions.
And yes, when you put it that way — aging sounds quite intense.
Nevertheless, there are a couple of key nutrients that you should keep your eye on as you get older. Your body not only depends on receiving sufficient amounts of these nutrients as you pack on the birthdays, but they can help to slow the deterioration of certain functions that are often associated with aging.
It is common to lose strength as you get older.
This can be attributed to the steady loss of muscle mass that is natural to aging processes. In fact, the average adult begins to lose muscle mass after the age of 30.
Not only does losing strength make tasks more difficult, but it can contribute to fractures and the overall poor health of older folk.
Protein, however, may help your body maintain muscle mass and strength as you age.
You can ensure that you are getting enough protein by making sure you consume some at every meal, or you can take a protein supplement.
- Vitamin B12
You may have heard about vitamin B12… or maybe not.
Regardless of your familiarity with this essential nutrient, it is important to understand its relationship to certain brain and bodily functions. Not only does vitamin B12 help to keep your blood and nerve cells healthy, but also helps prevent megaloblastic anemia, a blood condition that causes fatigue and loss of strength.
This vitamin is water-soluble and is more abundant in animal products like meat, dairy, eggs and fish.
So, if you are a vegetarian or vegan whose aging processes aren’t so familiar with vitamin B12, it is imperative you find alternative sources. You can take a vitamin B12 supplement or source the nutrient from fortified foods.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiencies are common in older adults. Yet, this essential nutrient is critical to bone health, something that older people must prioritize.
In short, the body’s ability to produce vitamin D after it is exposed to sunlight is compromised as you get older. This has to do with the physical thinning of the skin.
To ensure you are getting enough vitamin D as you age, you can adopt a daily multivitamin or prioritize the consumption of foods that are rich in vitamin D.
Salmon and herring are two fish that are loaded with vitamin D.
Similar to Vitamin D, calcium helps to keep your bones healthy, something that is increasingly important as you age.
The challenge, however, isn’t that older adults do not consume enough calcium. Rather, it is that older bodies tend to not absorb as much calcium as they once did.
And while the reduced level of calcium absorption is a product of the gut, it can be exacerbated by a vitamin D deficiency.
So, calcium and vitamin D are essentially 2 vital nutrients in a pod. The best way to get them in your body as you age (and in proper quantities) is to rely on a nutritional supplement, like a daily multivitamin.
Older people are more likely to take daily medications than their younger counterparts. The common side effects of these medications, in combination to the decreased mobility of older folk, are what make constipation a common problem for those in higher age groups.
Fiber may help remedy constipation by promoting regular bowel movement.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Heart disease is a pandemic of sorts amongst older folk. However, common risk factors like high blood pressure and triglycerides can be reduced through the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids. These are healthy fats that pose numerous benefits to both your heart and cognitive health.
While fish are known for their omega-3’s, you can easily get your daily recommended amount through an omega-3 supplement or through a comprehensive daily multivitamin.