Healthy and active aging is closely linked to a lifestyle that includes regular physical activity paired with wise food choices. Good nutrition and exercise work better to slow down age-related health issues when both are a routine part of life. The right intake of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fibers and protein are essential for normal body functions, from maintaining muscle to improving digestion.
The following nutrients play important roles in helping the aging body perform optimally:
- Certain vitamins are important for the body to produce energy. For example, vitamins B2, B6 and B12 contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.
- Protein contributes to the growth and maintenance of muscle mass. Older people need more dietary protein than do younger adult people. Over time, a loss of muscle tone and feelings of weakness and limited ability to do activities may be noticed, and may be signs of poor intake of protein.
- Vitamin D and calcium are essential nutrients for bone health. Body levels of vitamin D might be too low in seniors, and this can impair the ability to absorb calcium. Vitamin D and calcium work in harmony to help maintain healthy bones.
- Vitamin C contributes to normal collagen formation for the normal functioning of cartilage. Cartilage is a key component of joints. Together, muscles, bones and cartilage play a key role in daily activities.
- Adequate fluid intake is needed. Water is involved in virtually every metabolic process. Water contributes to the maintenance of normal physical and cognitive functions. Adequate hydration supports good physical and mental performance.
- The World Health Organization calls people to consume at least 25 grams of dietary fiber each day. The typical daily intake of fiber is below the target level.