The Most Important Nutrients As You Age - And Where To Find Them - Forbes Health

The Most Important Nutrients As You Age – And Where To Find Them – Forbes Health

While specific nutritional needs vary from person to person, there are some nutrients that are generally important for older adults to prioritize.

“In general, older adults need fewer calories but tend to have higher amounts of protein, fiber, and specific vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, potassium, folate, and vitamin D,” says Dr. Sanchez.


It is common for older adults to lose muscle mass and strength as they age – a condition known as sarcopenia. Unfortunately, this can affect one’s mobility and independence, as well as increase the risk of developing diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Protein is essential for maintaining muscle mass, so it is important that older adults consume enough high-quality, protein-packed foods throughout the day. Good sources of protein include lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Experts recommend that older adults aim for at least 1.2 grams to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day.

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Fiber does not play an important role in gut health and metabolic function. Research shows that a high-fiber diet is associated with improved physical performance, increased longevity, improved cognitive function, and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

Foods like whole-grain bread, broccoli, avocado, apples, and berries are excellent sources of dietary fiber, but there are more ways to increase your fiber intake. “If you find yourself not consuming enough whole foods like grains, beans and fruits, it may be a good idea to eat [fiber] Appendix to promote healthy digestion,” advises Dr. Savage Jeter.

According to the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans, women over the age of 51 should aim for at least 22 grams of fiber, while men of the same age should aim for at least 28 grams of fiber per day.


“As we age, we tend to absorb less calcium from our diet, which can cause the body to remove calcium from the bones, making them weaker and prone to fractures. Calcium deficiency has also been linked to arrhythmias, seizures, and numbness and tingling in the fingers. ‘ explains Dr. Sanchez.

Although dairy products — such as yogurt, milk, and cheese — tend to be common sources of calcium, they aren’t the only options. Calcium-fortified cereals, sardines, and green leafy vegetables like kale and kale are other excellent sources of calcium.

It is recommended that women over the age of 51 consume at least 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day. The recommendation for men is just under 1,000 milligrams for those ages 51 to 70 and 1,200 milligrams for those 71 and older.


Potassium is one of the most important minerals for health. We need it for muscle contraction and normal brain, heart and nerve function. Older adults who eat a diet rich in potassium have better health in general, including a lower risk of osteoporosis, kidney stones, high blood pressure, and strokes. But as we age, our kidney function decreases, which may affect potassium levels in the body,” explains Dr. Sanchez.

Dried apricots, bananas, potatoes, and lentils are great options if you’re looking for potassium-rich foods. But don’t go overboard – Dr. Savage-Jeter warns that consuming too much potassium can come with its own set of risks, including muscle weakness, nausea, and irregular heart rate.

Dr. Sanchez advises that although the recommended dose of potassium is 4,700 milligrams per day, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider to determine the right amount of potassium for you, as high potassium levels may cause complications for people with certain conditions, Including chronic renal failure.

Folic acid

“Folic acid is essential for the proper functioning of our nervous system at all ages, but as we age it is important to have adequate levels of folic acid, which has been shown to reduce the risk of depression, hearing loss and cognitive function, including Alzheimer’s disease.” , explains Dr. Sanchez.

Folic acid can be found in a variety of foods, including meats, vegetables, fruits, beans, and dairy products. Specifically, foods like beef, spinach, broccoli, avocado, and some breakfast cereals are excellent ways to increase your folic acid intake.

According to the Current Dietary Guidelines for Americans, adults age 51 and older should consume the equivalent of 400 micrograms of folic acid per day.

Vitamin D

A diet deficient in Vitamin D It is associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and cognitive decline in older adults. Unfortunately, older adults are “particularly vulnerable to vitamin D deficiency due to lack of exposure to sunlight, which may be due to a variety of causes including isolation, lack of movement, and concerns about sun exposure with sensitive skin,” says Dr. Savage- Jeter.

If you are looking for a natural way to increase your vitamin D levels without exposure to sunlight, foods like salmon, sardines, eggs, and milk fortified with vitamin D are just a few of the foods you can add to your diet.

Based on current dietary guidelines, adults between the ages of 51 and 70 are recommended to take 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D per day. At age 71, the recommendation increases to 800 IU for both males and females.

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