The top vitamins for senior women's health

January 6, 2012 at 9:31 a.m.

Ideally, vitamins and minerals should be obtained from a healthy diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, dairy and fish. But, we all know that not everyone has an ideal diet! Some seniors have food allergies, some simply enjoy foods that are less than healthy but taste awfully good, while other have gaps in their nutrition. As people age, digestion becomes less efficient and vitamins and minerals may not be as readily absorbed from food as in their youth. Certain medications and chronic illnesses also interfere with vitamin and mineral needs. For all these reasons, taking vitamins and supplements to provide the essentials makes excellent nutritional sense.

The convenience of daily multiple vitamin and mineral tablets makes them a popular choice. Look for ones specially formulated for senior women to ensure balanced nutritional support. In addition, antioxidant supplements are thought to help slow the aging process, as they neutralize damaging free radicals. Free radicals interfere with cellular processes, damaging the skin, the cardiovascular system and possibly contributing to many of the degenerative disorders that affect seniors.

Minerals are essential for multiple metabolic functions, but are best known for keeping bones strong. Senior women are at higher risk for osteoporosis and thus have a greater need for the minerals that support bone health. Calcium and magnesium along with vitamin D are essential for keeping bones dense, strong and healthy. Calcium can be obtained from foods, but many people do not consume dairy, eat calcium-rich vegetables, and would rather eat just about anything other than sardines with their bones, which are an excellent source of calcium! Magnesium also supports heart health, so be sure to get the recommended amount each day.

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