Healthy Aging: 5 Essential Vitamins and Minerals

The body’s nutritional requirements change as we age. While each stage of life comes with different needs, it is a fact that vitamins and minerals are key to staying healthy at any age. However, some become even more crucial with the natural aging process and, according to experts, are dietary staples for overall brain health and immunity. In general, it is estimated that the energy requirement for men over 60 years is around 2,400 kcal and 2,000 kcal for women. Similarly, it is considered that from 60 years of age, energy needs decrease by 5% every decade. Therefore it is simply essential to ensure the consumption of nutritious, whole, colorful and varied foods, which together lead to a balanced and attractive diet. But above all, that it becomes the best ally to support healthy aging.

Human aging is a gradual and adaptive process, characterized by a relative decrease in the homeostatic response [equilibrio que le permite al organismo mantener un funcionamiento adecuado]. Therefore, aging occurs naturally through morphological, physiological, biochemical and psychological changes, caused by changes inherent to age and accumulated wear and tear. Although there are some obvious physical signs such as wrinkles, the appearance of more gray hair and changes in body weight; It is a more complex process that tends to deteriorate energy levels, with a decrease in sports performance and body mass. Too, cognitive functioning and brain health, are usually among the list of the most affected aspects.

Fortunately, the quality of the diet can be the best ally to prevent complications and be stronger than ever. Based on this, we took on the task of selecting five nutritional elements that the body craves to support healthy aging, as well as discovering which are the best food sources that will help you take your nutrition to another level.

1. Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral that promotes bone strength and protein production, therefore it is essential to prevent osteoporosis. It also helps regulate stable blood sugar levels. There is data, which has shown that older people tend to consume less magnesium and are more likely to have long-term health problems if they take medications that lower their magnesium levels. What’s more, magnesium is involved in important body functions as in the contraction of the muscles and the heart. It reduces blood pressure, prevents cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, improves brain functions, stabilizes the nervous system and increases energy levels. It has also been positioned as a good supplement to combat depression, insomnia and chronic fatigue. Best of all, it is found in very nutritious and healthy foods: green leafy vegetables, lentils and legumes, whole grains, bananas, seeds, nuts, peas and soybeans.

2. Probiotics

Probiotics are essential in any healthy diet and the main reason is that they are a great protector of intestinal health and microbiota, which is directly related to the immune system. They are also a good dietary supplement to protect against possible allergies, a great ally to control body weight and relieve the symptoms of some digestive conditions such as syndrome of irritable bowel, bloating, colitis and gastritis. It has also been proven that they play an important role in brain function, in fact their consumption benefits cognitive functioning and is a good ally in the prevention of Alzheimer’s. It is common to consume them in supplement form, however it is also possible to easily incorporate them into the daily routine. There are them for all tastes and they are found in a wide range of fermented foods, such as kimchi and kombucha, which are Delicious sources of probiotics that help fight inflammation. Other very popular foods rich in probiotics are soft cheeses, yogurt, and tempeh.

3. Vitamin D

It is well known that the best source of vitamin D is sunlight, however the body is less likely to absorb vitamin D from the sun as we age. In some cases, these types of situations make it necessary to double the intake of vitamin D through diet and the consumption of some supplements. Let’s not forget that vitamin D, Helps absorb calcium and supports bone, muscle, and immune function. Fortunately, there are great sources of this nutrient, as is the specific case of egg yolks, fatty fish such as salmon, herring, sardines and tuna, it is also found in mushrooms and different varieties of wild mushrooms, milk and cheeses.

4. Calcium

With age, it is very likely that lose more calcium than is absorbed. In a particular way it is a very important mineral for women and is essential in the prevention of osteoporosis, therefore it has been established as a general medical measure that women over 50 should consume 20% more calcium than other adults. In addition, it has the great advantage of being able to increase calcium consumption through plant foods; It is a good option for those who follow a plant-based diet and do not consume dairy. Nowadays there are many everyday foods that contain it, such as fortified milks, especially the variants of coconut, rice and almonds, they can have up to 450 mg of calcium per cup. You’ll also find it in foods like beans, kale, and other green leafy vegetables, figs, dates, raisins, eggs, and oranges.

5. Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega 3 fatty acids (the good fats) support brain and eye health. They are also a nutrient that is related to great health benefits, can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, vision problems, promote weight loss and are a good ally to combat depression. The best of all is that there are delicious and healthy foods that guarantee adequate intake, as are fatty fish such as mackerel, tuna and salmon in the first place. It is also found in foods of plant origin such as olive oil, avocado, dried fruits (especially walnuts), seeds (especially chia seeds) and in edamames.

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