STATEN ISLAND, NY. – Nutrients are important at every phase of life, so health professionals at The Villas of Manalapan, N.J., want you to know that your nutritional needs can change as you age. Due to a variety of reasons, there are certain nutrients that you may need more of, explain nutrition experts at the posh independent senior living and assisted-living community near Staten Island.
To underscore the importance of maintaining a proper diet, nutrition experts at The Villas of Manalapan are highlighting five key nutrients:
1) Vitamin D
The RDA (recommend dietary allowance) for vitamin D is higher for older adults than it is for younger adults, meaning seniors need more.
Our bodies can use sunshine to create vitamin D. As we age, however, our skin becomes less effective at creating this hormone. Becoming vitamin D deficient can cause weak bones and various other health issues. On the flip side, a strong blood vitamin D level can be protective in many aspects of health. Some food sources of vitamin D include fish liver oil, salmon, liver, tuna, and egg yolk. Most people will need a vitamin D supplement to get their blood levels to a healthy number. Bloodwork should be used to determine dosage.
Most adults do not get the recommended amount of fiber.
Fiber is a carbohydrate that our bodies do not digest but rather provide bulk and aid in the digestive process. Too little fiber can lead to constipation or even increased risk of various diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
The RDA for men 51 and older is 30 grams per day; for women 51 and older, it’s 21 grams per day.
Fiber is only found in plant foods; some good sources include beans like chickpeas, nuts like almonds, quinoa, broccoli, oatmeal, and fruits such as apple and banana. A supplement (such as Metamucil or Citrucel) may be warranted to help some older adults maintain regular bowel movements.
It is important for seniors to meet their protein needs to maintain muscle mass, daily functioning, and immune system function.
Muscle mass decreases with age which can lead to risk of falling, disability, loss of independence, and death. Consuming too little protein can also impact your overall health and can lead to malnutrition. Foods such as beef, chicken, eggs, milk, salmon, yogurt, and lentils are rich in protein. Resistance-training exercises also help promote muscle mass.
4) B vitamins
B vitamins are micronutrients essential for health and well-being. They are involved in many functions in the body including DNA creation, nerve function, metabolism, red blood cell formation, and immune function.
The RDA for B vitamins are not necessarily higher for seniors, but absorption of these vitamins decreases with age, meaning you need to eat more. Beef, chicken, chickpeas, cheese, spinach, banana, milk, yogurt, egg, clams, liver, salmon, tuna, and potatoes are foods rich in B vitamins. If you don’t eat a variety of B vitamin-rich food sources, you may benefit from a multivitamin or a B complex supplement; consult with your doctor.
Water may not seem like a nutrient, but it is an important one.
As we age, our sense of thirst decreases. Certain medications also increase your risk for becoming dehydrated. Dehydration is a common cause of hospitalization among older adults. Staying hydrated is important for bodily functions, such as: Lubricating joints, regulating body temperature, and pumping blood.
Aim for five to eight glasses of clear water a day. If plain water is too boring, try adding some fruit, citrus juice, or a splash of fruit juice for flavoring. You can look at your urine color to determine how hydrated you are. It should be pale yellow; if it is bright or dark yellow you may need to drink more water.
About the Villas of Manalapan
Situated on seven wooded acres in Manalapan, N.J., a short distance from Staten Island, N.Y., The Villas of Manalapan is a luxurious senior apartment community reflecting the ambiance and accommodations of a world-class resort. Offering a range of amenities and services sensitive to the lifestyle, health and daily needs of its residents, the complex – orchestrated by Hackensack Meridian Health – is uniquely focused on wellness and prevention, and ideal for singles and couples alike. The upscale 100,000-square-foot community offers a unique arrangement of supervision and increased healthcare with onsite physician services. Providing for independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care on specialized floors, the Villas eliminates the need to relocate elsewhere due to health issues, allowing couples to remain together in a comforting, well-managed, posh environment. The Villas is located at 289 Gordons Corner Road, Manalapan, NJ 07726. For information, the Villas may be reached at 732-847-3920, contacted via www.villashmh.com/contact, and visited online at www.villashmh.com.
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