UAB Nutritionist Dr. Beth Kitchin joined us with a look at the four focus nutrients for those over 50. As we get older a lot of things change. Even our nutritional needs shift. As we get older, we burn fewer calories. We make less stomach acid. Our muscles lose some of their strength. And our skin thins. So let's take a look at some of the nutrients we need more of as these changes kick in with age.
Protein: Inactivity and aging both contribute to our loss of muscle strength as we age. Not only is getting more protein important to maintain muscle strength, timing may be important too. Spreading protein out throughout the day at breakfast, lunch, and dinner is key. You can also add high protein snacks like Greek yogurt, cheese, peanut butter, nuts, and hard-boiled eggs.
Calcium: We absorb less calcium as we get older. So, in order to get the calcium our bodies need, we need to get a bit more calcium. To get the needed 1200 mg a day, you may need a supplement if you don't 3 to 4 high calcium foods every day. Visit our UAB Tone Your Bones website to learn more about your calcium needs: www.uab.edu/toneyourbones
Vitamin D: As we get older, our skin thins. That lowers the level of an important vitamin D making chemical. So, it's a good idea to make sure you're getting 1000 IU's - international units - of vitamin D from dietary supplements since foods are generally not very high in vitamin D.
Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 from foods needs stomach acid for absorption. As we age, we produce less and less stomach acid – so unsurprisingly, B12 deficiency is pretty common in people particularly over 60 and 70. The synthetic form of the vitamin that you find in fortified breads, cereals and in vitamin pills does not need stomach acid so these are actually absorbed better than food sources! Over 50 multivitamins put extra B12 in them to make sure you are getting what you need!