To Your Health
March, 2007 (Vol. 01, Issue 03)
Undernutrition: This occurs in 5 percent to 20 percent of seniors and is related to increased rates of mortality, infection, osteoporosis and degenerative diseases. Other causes include anorexia; cancer; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; congestive heart failure; depression; hypothyroidism; and malabsorption of nutrients.
Protein and vitamin/mineral deficiencies are common in these individuals; although people require fewer calories as they age, they should not reduce nutrient intake.
The right diet makes a big difference in your way of life; it can even make you more attractive. A study from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that higher consumption of vegetables, olive oil and monounsaturated fat and legumes, and a lower intake of milk/milk products, butter, and sugar products, reduced skin wrinkling. The mechanism behind this may be related to reduced oxidation of the skin achieved by consuming vegetables, legumes and olive oil.
Unfortunately, most of us don't think too much about what we eat. That's a big mistake, particularly as we age. Consider keeping a journal of what you eat over the course of a week or two. You may find this very revealing. Think about changes you should make based on a review of your dietary journal, and take your journal in on your next appointment and ask your doctor for suggestions about how you can improve your diet.
Keeping yourself at the appropriate weight and staying fit are keys to living a long, active, attractive life. What you eat plays a major role in both.
The Right Nutritional Supplements
Like it or not, the current research clearly points to nutritional supplementation as an effective way to maintain the health of older adults. There is a long list of benefits associated with vitamins. Among these, vitamins help in the fight to retain bone mineral density, fend off cancer and even protect your eyesight.
Reduced bone mineral density is probably your biggest enemy to an active life. As we age, our bones generally become smaller and more brittle. The danger of a life-impairing fracture from a fall becomes more real. The good news is, your bones don't have to deteriorate. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that increased amounts of magnesium, potassium, and overall fruit and vegetable intake, increased bone mineral density. Other studies have found that magnesium, K1 and D3, and calcium also improve bone mineral density.
We all need to keep our bones strong and healthy, but for women, it's absolutely crucial. Women are especially susceptible to bone loss because they start out with less natural bone tissue than men and lose it faster with age (especially after menopause, when estrogen, a hormone that protects your bones, is no longer produced in large quantities).