Physicians at community hospitals recommend eating a well-balanced diet at every stage of life. As you grow older, eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, low-fat dairy, and whole grains can help maintain your overall wellness and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. However, the nutritional needs of seniors do change slightly due to age because the body may not metabolize vitamins as well. For nutrition advice that is specific to your unique needs, you should consult a physician at your community hospital.
Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium, which maintains strong bones. Getting enough vitamin D has also been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and some cancers. With age, it can be more difficult for your body to make enough vitamin D from sunlight. You can get more vitamin D in your diet by choosing dairy products that have been fortified with this vitamin. Additionally, the doctor at your local hospital may recommend taking a vitamin D supplement.
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that can reduce the damage to DNA caused by free radicals. This vitamin supports the immune system, strengthens blood vessel walls, and contributes to the body’s wound healing abilities. Fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, particularly fruits such as cantaloupe, pineapple, strawberries, cranberries, kiwi, and grapefruit. However, if you take medications, check with a doctor at your local hospital before using grapefruit. Grapefruit and grapefruit products can interact with certain drugs.
There are several different B vitamins. For example, vitamin B2, or riboflavin, enables the body to produce energy from food. Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, assists with maintaining stable blood sugar levels and supporting the immune system. B vitamin deficiencies are more common among seniors. You can find B vitamins in whole grains, dark, leafy veggies, and fortified cereals.
Seniors throughout South Tampa are encouraged to take advantage of the free healthy living program available at Memorial Hospital of Tampa. Our community hospital provides a spectrum of complementary services for adults 55 years and older, including health screenings, educational seminars, support groups, and exercise classes. Call our hospital at (813) 873-6400 or visit us on the Web to find out more.