Our nutritional needs change as we age. Our bodies change, our bones become brittle, our eyesight and hearing can start to weaken, and our food choices may not be what they used to be.
Getting enough vitamin D is vital for seniors as it helps the body absorb calcium, which is also a necessity for aging bones and teeth. A good balance of proper vitamins is needed for senior health.
Vitamin D and Seniors
It’s important that seniors get enough vitamin D. While the sun is a great way to get vitamin D, it can be dangerous for seniors to be exposed to sunlight for extended periods of time.
But, like the sunshine, vitamin D taken through food or supplements will still provide the desired results. You can get vitamin D through oily fish like cod or sardines, vitamin-enriched foods like milk, plant-based milk, enriched juices, and fortified cereals.
A very common condition among seniors is osteoporosis. This is when bones become weak and brittle. This is particularly worrying in seniors who may be unsteady and fall, causing irreparable damage.
Vitamin D helps to absorb calcium, which helps to keep bones stronger. A supplement of vitamin D with calcium is an excellent way to keep the levels of both.
Vitamin D, coupled with calcium, helps keep tooth and gum disease at bay. Tooth decay and gum disease can lead to other issues, like heart disease, cancer, respiratory issues, and arthritis.
Even if your loved one no longer has their natural teeth, gum health is important. Vitamin D and calcium help protect not only the gums but help maintain a strong jaw for chewing and talking.
We all know what it is like to be outside on a warm sunny day. It helps lift your spirits and warms you. A lack of sun on your skin or a vitamin D deficiency may not actually cause depression, but it certainly won’t help it.
Long periods of dark gloomy days can drive even the happiest person into a blue funk. Seniors with mobility issues or lack of exposure to the sun should be given supplements and make sure they are eating vitamin D-rich foods, along with calcium.
Another benefit of vitamin D is that it can help keep your body healthier. Vitamin D can help to build your immune system which helps to fight off many types of diseases that can happen as we age.
Your immune system needs to be strong to help fight off viruses and bacteria that we come into contact with every day. Once your resistance is down, these viruses can move quickly and make people sick, especially seniors.
Nerves and Muscles
Vitamin D also helps to maintain muscle, which affects almost everything we do. It means we can do all the daily tasks we need to without needing help or risking injury.
Our nerves also need to be protected and maintained. Vitamin D regulates the calcium our bodies use and keeps our central nervous system functioning and growing.
Inflammation after an injury is your body’s way of protecting it. But inflammation that you can see or feel can lead to much more serious issues. The sun, and therefore, vitamin D can help heal the body and reduce unwanted or unneeded inflammation.
Vitamin D provides anti-inflammatory properties that help to keep these unnecessary swellings down. Keeping a healthy level of vitamin D in your system can maintain, if not improve your health in many ways.
A vitamin deficiency can lead to all kinds of problems. It’s always preferable to get your nutrients through the foods you eat and rely on supplements when needed.
If you are a senior or are the caregiver of a loved one, you may also want to consider a medical alert system. This allows them the freedom to do what they like and still be in contact with medical help, should they need it.
Lack of vitamin D can have a devastating effect on anyone, but seniors are more susceptible. Keep them safe by making sure they are eating a proper diet, getting exercise and fresh air, and are social.