Healthy and varied food is important to become vitally older, because essential vitamins and minerals play an important role in our energy metabolism. The immune system also remains strong with good nutrition.
To stay vital, a healthy diet with sufficient vitamins and minerals is important. The Nutrition Center does not advise you to eat 250 grams of vegetables and two pieces of fruit daily. Make sure there is sufficient variation. Whoever eats with the seasons and varies in color of food , basically gets enough vitamins and minerals inside.
If you are over fifty, then that healthy diet is of course important. But as you get older, the metabolism starts to burn at a lower level. As a result, less and less energy is needed from the food. No wonder, therefore, that the appetite often diminishes with age. However, the need for vitamins and minerals is the same, sometimes even higher. The need for vitamin D for example.
Vitamin D has more influence than was thought. For example, it has been shown that too low a vitamin D intake has an effect on depression. Vitamin D is important for building and maintaining strong bones, because it stimulates the absorption of calcium in the skeleton. Vitamin D is produced in the skin under the influence of sunlight. Research shows that the skin of the elderly person produces less vitamin D.
Vitamin B12 is also important for over-50s. Often this vitamin from meat, fish, dairy products and eggs is poorly absorbed by older people, especially in case of infections of the stomach or intestines. This can reduce stomach acid production. In our saliva and in the stomach enzymes are made, which ensure that vitamin B12 is properly absorbed in our intestines. As we age, we make fewer of these substances and the risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency increases. In the United States, all over-50s are therefore advised to take extra vitamin B12. Although we do not have official B12 advice for the elderly in the Netherlands, a supplement can be a good addition.
The same vitamin B12, together with its sisters B6 and folic acid (B11), has a positive effect on the maintenance of healthy vessel walls. They reduce the homocysteine ??level in the blood; a substance that develops during the build-up and degradation of proteins. A high level of homocysteine ??in the blood is associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases and strokes .
In addition to sufficient calcium and vitamin D, sufficient vitamin K is essential for maintaining strong bones. Vitamin K ensures that not too much calcium is broken down from the bones and excreted in the urine . Vitamin K also ensures good blood clotting.
Calcium is a mineral that is necessary for the construction and maintenance of the bones and teeth. Calcium helps against bone loss in later life and is necessary for proper functioning of the nerves and muscles, blood clotting and the transport of other minerals in the body.
The mineral chromium has an influence on memory function and cognitive skills in the elderly. Chromium has, among other things, positive effects on glucose metabolism, which influences brain function. Chromium also plays a role in the processing of fats and carbohydrates. In addition, it has been shown to have a positive effect on the activity of insulin receptors. The minerals manganese, zinc and selenium also support glucose and insulin metabolism.
Iron and magnesium
The minerals iron and magnesium support the energy level and keep you vital. Iron also supports the ability to concentrate and contributes to a clear mind.
There may be circumstances in which older people may develop less healthy or varied food and thus possibly a vitamin deficiency. Think of reduced appetite, chewing and swallowing problems due to dental problems, social isolation and reduced mobility. People over 50 also use more medication, while certain medicines interfere with the absorption of vitamins. This applies, for example, to some blood pressure reducers. Then a multivitamin for seniors can be taken as a supplement. Consult with your doctor if necessary.
Nutrition for the brain
A good concentration of B vitamins, especially of vitamins B1, B2, B6, folic acid and B12, support the concentration and memory. But there are many more nutrients that are needed for the brain . This also applies, for example, to vitamins C, D and E and to omega-3 fatty acids. Iodine, iron and zinc are also good for memory.