Essential Nutrients for Seniors

Healthy Aging, Healthy Recipes and Nutrition, Nutrition, Senior Health
on June 24, 2011

Your body requires specific nutrients during different stages of your life to continue working well. Getting the right nutrients can keep you active and energetic well into your twilight years. In your senior years, it is important to keep your muscles and bones strong to prevent injury and ensure that you are able to absorb nutrients like calcium.

Iron. Iron deficiency is common in adults, particularly seniors. Iron helps transport oxygen through the blood, and so not consuming enough iron from food or in supplement form can cause fatigue and issues with blood clotting. According to Colorado State University Extension, adults over 51 years old should take 8 milligrams of iron per day, along with vitamin C, which helps with iron absorption.

Vitamin D and calcium. These two nutrients work in tandem to build and strengthen bones. Especially in women, the older your body gets, the more bone density is lost. Osteoporosis and arthritic diseases can be delayed and symptoms mitigated by keeping bones and the surrounding cartilage healthy with 15 micrograms of vitamin D and 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day, depending on age and gender, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements.

Fiber. Because your body has a more difficult time with normal processes as you age, making sure you get enough fiber can be integral when promoting digestive health. According to Colorado State University Extension, fiber can help prevent hemorrhoids, constipation and diverticulosis. Water-soluble fiber, the kind found in beans, fruits and some vegetables, has also been shown to lower blood cholesterol, which rises naturally over the course of your life and can cause heart problems.

Magnesium. This essential nutrient has a variety of benefits, from muscle health to keeping the immune system boosted. Magnesium aids in keeping blood sugar and blood pressure levels stable and helps promote a regular heartbeat. According to the Cleveland Clinic, women over the age of 70 should take 320 milligrams of magnesium per day while men over 70 should take 420 milligrams per day to get maximum benefits.