Nutrition is one of the cornerstones of health. As we get older, however, it’s possible to miss out on important vitamins and nutrients, reducing our health and quality of life. If you’ve been feeling out of sorts, eating right and getting the balance of foods you need can make a big difference.
Why It Matters
People have long understood that a balanced diet gives you a longer, healthier life, but scientists have only come to understand why in the last few centuries. Vitamin deficiencies are a source of many illnesses, including scurvy, rickets, and pellagra. Thanks to scientific research and fortified foods, these illnesses have become almost unheard of in modern society.
Although you’d be unlikely to accidentally get scurvy these days, that doesn’t mean you can’t inadvertently miss out on valuable vitamins and nutrients if you don’t have a varied enough diet. If you’re even a little bit deficient, you can wind up feeling tired, moody, and just plain blah. Long-term deficiencies can cause serious health problems, including bone weakness and organ damage. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you get the vitamins you need.
Considerations for Seniors
Even if you’ve never had any vitamin deficiencies before, it’s important to get regular blood workups as you get older. The reason for this is simple: As our bodies age, the balance of vitamins we need changes. The diet that’s suited you all your life may no longer do the trick.
If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you might be eligible for a program that can help you get your nutritional goals on track. For example, many plans run by Humana offer wellness and fitness programs for seniors to ensure they’re giving their bodies the best possible care. Look into these programs and see if there’s one that’s right for you.
Meal and Grocery Tips
It’s important to ensure you’re taking in plenty of different fruits and vegetables since plant matter is the best source of most vitamins. When preparing meals, try to keep the rainbow plate principal in mind: the more colorful a plate you can create, the healthier it will be. This is a surefire way to make sure you’re getting a variety of foods. Plus, since the most colorful foods are typically fruits and veggies, this is a great way to get in plenty of vitamins and nutrients.
Depending on your location, buying fresh fruits and vegetables might be difficult. In that case, you can save money by purchasing frozen versions instead. Not only do these versions retain nearly all of their nutritional value, but they can also taste fresher than their produce-section equivalents. This is because they’re frozen closer to being picked, so they retain more of their freshness and flavor. Since they have a much longer shelf life, buying frozen means you can hold onto them longer and not risk throwing out a bunch of unused produce.
When Diet Misses the Mark
Unfortunately, sometimes eating as well as we can manage doesn’t always do the trick. Even the most varied diet can inadvertently miss out on important nutrients. Consider taking a daily multivitamin to make sure you get everything you need, no matter what. Make sure you get one that has at least 100 percent of your daily recommended nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin K, riboflavin, biotin, and calcium, to name a few. Try to take it at the same time each day so it becomes routine; that way, you’re less likely to forget it.
Vitamins and nutrients keep your body running right as you get older. Focus on a balanced diet and a daily multivitamin so that you can feel your best at any age!