Eating Right and Aging

As you age, food choices become important daily decisions that may affect the quality of the rest of your life. Seniors need fewer calories, and everything you eat should be based on weight gain and the nutrients that can maintain or boost your immune system and keep you healthy. Too much added weight and not enough vitamins and minerals can cause untold health problems.

Choose your foods to make sure you’re getting enough of the following vitamins and minerals:

· B-Vitamins – Seniors need to be sure they eat lots of foods with B-vitamins. Vitamin-B12 isn’t found in plants, but you can get it in your diet if you eat fortified breakfast cereals. Tuna, lean beef, chicken and eggs also provide vitamin-B12, but if you don’t eat enough of these foods, be sure to take a supplement.

Vitamin-B6 is also an important vitamin for seniors. B6 vitamins can be found in foods that provide protein such as pork, fish and chicken. Again, fortified cereals can be a great source of vitamin B-6. Bananas, spinach, wheat germ and bran are among other sources for vitamin B6.

· Vitamin-A – Cantaloupe, carrots, Brussels sprouts, peppers and most colorful plant products are rich in beta-carotene, which provides vitamin-A. Fish liver oil, eggs and fortified milk are also abundant in vitamin-A. If you don’t think you’re getting enough vitamin-A in your diet, talk to your doctor before taking a supplement as it can form toxic levels in your body.

· Folic Acid – A synthetic form of folate, folic acid can be found in foods such as fortified cereal, enriched breads and some grains. Foods containing folate are bananas, asparagus, turnip greens, spinach wheat germ and orange juice.

· Riboflavin – Milk, yogurt, eggs and whole grains are rich in riboflavin. Milk should be purchased in cardboard cartons rather than glass or plastic containers because it loses much of the vitamin from exposure to light. Other food sources high in riboflavin are asparagus, turkey, almonds and chicken thighs.

Some other vitamins that should be included in the foods seniors should be eating are vitamins C, D and E and choline. Eating a diet that’s balanced with these vitamins and minerals is best, but if it’s difficult for you to eat a balanced diet on a regular basis, talk to your doctor about supplements.

As you age, it’s important to fill up with foods that contain vitamins and minerals that will help us to maintain a healthy immune system and provide you with the best caloric intake rather than foods rich in sugar, fat and not much else. Eating right can help us age gracefully and live longer.