Seniors should pay close attention to what they eat on a daily basis. As you get older, and your metabolism changes, you must make the effort to get the nutrients your body needs. That means eating more of some things and less of others.
In most cases, it’s not because your body actually needs more or less nutrients. Rather, the mature body’s ability to absorb and retain nutrients is different. Also, senior bodies are more vulnerable to diseases that can be brought on by too much or too little of a nutrient.
To remain healthy, you need to know which nutrients to increase and which ones to cut back on. Plus, it helps to know how you can make the most of your dietary sources. Following a few basic steps can help you avoid life-threatening diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Vitamins are organic chemical compounds which are essential for our health. Many chemical reactions in the body are vitamin-dependent. Vitamins help us use the calories in the food we eat and process fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. There are thirteen different types of vitamins.
We get our vitamins in various ways.
- Most of the vitamins we get come from our food.
- Vitamins also can come from supplements.
- Vitamin K and biotin, or vitamin B7, are produced in the intestines by microorganisms.
- One form of vitamin D is manufactured in the skin with the help of sunlight.
Vitamins are classified according to how the body absorbs them.
- Water-soluble vitamins dissolve more easily in water, and pass through the body more quickly as well, necessitating more frequent intake.
- Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed in the intestines with the help of fat and accumulate more readily.
It is important that you have the proper balance of vitamins in your diet. Otherwise you may have a deficiency or an overdose. Deficiencies are far more common. There are two types.
- Primary deficiencies are caused by not getting enough vitamins in your food; this is remedied by a more balanced diet with intake of healthy food from all food groups.
- Secondary deficiencies are caused when other factors limit vitamin absorption, such as drinking too much alcohol, smoking, or taking certain types of medication.
- Vitamin overdose seldom happens from food, but it is possible to overdose on vitamins when you take supplements. That’s why it’s important to always check with your doctor first whether you need supplements, and also, which specific supplements you should take.
There are ways to maximize your vitamin intake from food.
- Eat a variety of foods, including food from each major food group. If a number of different foods can supply a particular vitamin, vary your diet to include them all. Eating seasonal vegetables helps with this.
- Eat fruit and vegetables as soon as possible when they are ripe; try not to store them too long. When they are picked ripe they have more vitamins than when they ripen off the tree or vine.
- Frozen foods retain their vitamins because they are usually picked ripe and then frozen right away.
- Store fresh food in a cool, dark place.
- Cook vegetables as little as possible, and if possible steam or microwave them instead of boiling.
In conclusion, if you are diligent with your vitamin intake, you will stay healthier.