Seventy might be the new 50 — but only if you start taking care of yourself in your 40’s.
That means establishing a regular fitness program and getting the right nutrients to support your aging body’s functions and ward off disease.
While eating a proper diet is the best way to get the necessary vitamins and minerals, there are all sorts of reasons that doesn’t happen – from picky eating habits to crazy schedules that have us eating on the fly. That’s where supplements come into play.
Here are seven vitamins you need after age 40, courtesy of Prevention:
Vitamin B-12. It’s vital for blood and brain function. While B-12 is found in most animal products, including meat, poultry and eggs, older people (50+) have some trouble absorbing it and should consider a supplement.
Calcium. It may or may not help prevent bone fractures as we age. But it is necessary for other functions, including nerve and heart function. If you aren’t getting enough calcium, your body will take it from your bones, thus weakening them. You don’t want too much calcium as excessive levels have been linked to heart problems and stroke. Women may get enough calcium from a well-rounded diet that includes foods like broccoli, spinach and almonds.
Vitamin D. Shortages of D have been linked to all sorts of age-related problems including heart issues, diabetes and some cancers. Your body poorly absorbs the Vitamin D in food. The sun is a better source – except if you live up north or, you know, use sunscreen. Consider taking a D3 supplement that gives you about 600 IU per day.
Magnesium. It regulates blood pressure and aids in muscle, nerve and heart function. A deficiency of magnesium can foster diabetes and heart trouble. Fortunately, you almost certainly get enough magnesium from your diet, especially if you eat dark leafy greens, avocado, seeds and nuts.
Probiotics. These are especially important for women 40-plus. They keep the gut health, help regulate weight and may even lower the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. While there many food sources for probiotics, including fermented soy products and some dairy, a supplement provides the widest range of probiotic benefits.
Potassium. Another mineral critical to blood pressure regulation. And, again, you are likely getting enough from your varied diet. Bananas, sweet potatoes, and beans are good sources of potassium. Too much potassium can cause serious issues, including intestinal damage; so don’t take a supplement unless your doctor prescribes it.
Omega 3’s. These fatty acids protect against heart disease and boost brain function. Omega 3’s are found in fish, flaxseed and leafy vegetables, but a supplement is a good way to insure you get all the O-3 your body needs.