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Posted February 20, 2020

 

Throughout your lifespan, your nutritional requirements change. The human body is dynamic as are its needs. But guess what?  The aging population actually requires the same nutrients as pregnant women. This is because pregnant women experience development and have increased requirements of certain vitamins and minerals.

Pregnant women and the aging require similar and increased quantities of vitamins and minerals. Whether in a senior living facility, assisted living facility, or elsewhere, it is crucial to incorporate into your diet the proper foods to guarantee you have everything you need to be healthy. Here are the most important nutrients you need to know about.

Important Nutrients:

  1. Folate, also known as folic acid and vitamin B9. 
  • Deficiency in folate is one of the causes of anemia(and pregnant women who are deficient risk having children with neural tube defects) 
  • Folate is a key player in RNA and DNA synthesis
  • Wrong levels of folate can cause cancer 

You should ideally always focus on obtaining nutrients from food sources. If you are ever wondering which foods contain folate, just think of fiber! Plant foods such as fruits, vegetables and grains are rich in fiber and folate. Also, don’t forget that fiber is incredibly beneficial to the bacteria in your gut and keeps you healthy. If you’re getting older or you’re pregnant, remember, eat those plants!

 

  1. Potassium is a mineral. 
  • You need it for cell function, energy regulation and bone strength
  • It is thought to reduce high blood pressure and the risk of kidney stones, both of which are quite common in the aging population. 

You can find potassium in  plant- foods such as bananas, prunes, plums, and potatoes. Try to consume potatoes with the peels on, as the majority of its nutrients are concentrated in the area between the skin and flesh.

  1. Magnesium consumption is particularly important in seniors, since as you age, magnesium absorption becomes less efficient. 
  • The aging population should  consume a diverse array of fruits, vegetables and grains. 
  • Certain medications, such as diuretics can interfere with the absorption of this mineral. 

Magnesium is important for bodily processes such as heart function, immunity, and bone health, all of which are crucial throughout life as well as during aging.  Eat raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds is very important to maintain your magnesium levels.

  1. Vitamin B12, also known as Cobalamin. 
  • Vitamin B12 is crucial for protein metabolism, DNA and RNA synthesis, and central nervous system function. 
  • Deficiency can be dangerous, and can lead to anemia, dementia, and the degeneration of the nervous system. 

That means that animals have B12 because they are what they eat! It is important for people of all ages to consume sufficient amounts of vitamin B12, whether in food form or in supplement form.

Being healthy means eating a balanced diet. You can take vitamin supplements to help ensure that you are getting everything you need, (especially if you aren’t always in control of your food choices). Whether in Barrington,  Lake Barrington, North Barrington, Lake Zurich, Deer Park, Inverness, Bull Valley, Crystal Lake, Schaumberg, and Hoffman Estates, nutrition should be a top priority while you age!

Next week, I’ll write on 4 more nutrients that both pregnant women and seniors need. Stay tuned!

Talia Schabes

Talia got her degree in Nutritional Science at Rutgers University.

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