Senior Living Care Blog

Making Sure to Eat Your ABCs

Posted by Joe Gilmore on Dec 13, 2018 1:37:12 PM


Eating right is essential for all ages, but it gets increasingly more important as we age. Most people understand that aging can have major effects on certain ways the body functions. For example, bones can become weaker, eyesight can start to falter, and there may be issues related to the cardiovascular system. Being sure that your body is getting the necessary amount of dietary vitamins is one way to help protect the body from health problems.


The most essential vitamins to the body are vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K. Each vitamin affects different parts of the body in different ways. This article will explore each vitamin and explain why they are important to the body processes. Understanding each of these vitamins is important for everyone but even more important for older individuals who are more susceptible to health risks.



Vitamin A

A close up of Broccoli. Broccoli is an excellent source of Vitamin A for seniors

Vitamin A is involved in the immune function, vision, reproduction, and cellular communication. It is critical for vision as it is helps to absorb light in the retinal receptors. Vitamin A is also important for cell growth helps to maintain the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs.


Vitamin A deficiency is rare in the United States, but when it occurs it leads to night blindness and can eventually lead to blindness altogether. If left untreated, the deficiency can lead to severe mortality risks.


Some rich sources of vitamin A are in liver and fish oils. Other sources include:

  • Spinach
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet potato
  • Milk
  • Eggs




Vitamin B

A close up of potatoes. Potatoes are a great source of Vitamin B for seniors

Vitamin B is important in helping the body use and make energy from the food you eat. It is also important in creating red blood cells and transporting iron throughout the body. There are a number of forms of vitamin B, but Vitamin B6 and B12 get the most attention.


Vitamin B6 helps to perform a wide variety of functions in the body however it is mostly concerned with protein metabolism and plays a role in cognitive development through the synthesis of neurotransmitters.


Meanwhile, the B12 vitamin is required for proper red blood cell formation, neurological function and DNA synthesis.


Deficiency of vitamin B6 and B12 can lead to a range of symptoms including anemia, rashes, scaly skin, and cracks on the corners of the mouth.


Some common sources of vitamin B include:

  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Potatoes
  • Fruit




Vitamin C

A bowl of fresh strawberries. Strawberries are a great source of Vitamin C for seniors

Vitamin is an essential dietary component. IT s required for the synthesis of collagen in the body and certain neurotransmitters. It is also important in protein metabolism. Collagen is connective tissue that plays a vital role in wound healing.


Vitamin C deficiency can lead to scurvy which can lead to anemia, exhaustion, spontaneous bleeding, pain in the limbs and swelling in some parts of the body. High levels of vitamin C are maintained in cells and tissues, they are the highest in white blood cells, eyes and the brain.


Rich sources for vitamin C include:

  • Red peppers
  • Oranges
  • Strawberries
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Green peas




Vitamin D

Fresh cheese on a platter ready to be served. Cheese is a great source of Vitamin D for seniors

Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the gut. It aides in growing and maintaining healthy bones and is important for bone remodeling osteoblasts and osteoclasts.


Without sufficient vitamin D in the body, the bones can become brittle, thin, or misshapen. If the problem continues to advance, it can lead to greater deterioration of the body and even osteoporosis and bone fractures.


There are a number of foods that have a lot of vitamin D, however, one easy way to get the vitamin is from sun exposure, however this may be difficult during the winter months. However, some food that contain vitamin D include:

  • Cod
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Margarine
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Cheese




Vitamin E

A bag of almonds. Almonds are a great source of Vitamin E

Vitamin E is acts as an antioxidant that helps to prevent cellular damage from free radicals. Free radicals can play a role in heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. It is also used to help protect the lungs and red blood cell membranes. It is also in an important nutrient that’s important to vision, reproduction, and the health of the blood, brain, and skin.


If someone is experiencing a vitamin E deficiency they may experience symptoms such as impairment of the immune response and cause nerve pain.


Some foods that are good sources of Vitamin E include:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Almonds
  • Broccoli
  • Peanuts
  • Mango
  • Spinach




Vitamin K

A mixture of brown and white eggs. Eggs are a great source of Vitamin K

Vitamin K is known as a the clotting vitamin. It is important for the synthesis of proteins involved in blood clotting and bone metabolism. According to the Mayo Clinic, some studies suggest that it can help maintain strong bones specifically for older adults.


Deficiency in vitamin K can lead to problems with bleeding as it will cause the body to have problems stopping the bleeding. It can also result in serious illness. Vitamin K can also reduce bone mineralization and contribute to osteoporosis.


Foods that are rich in vitamin K include:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Chicken
  • Ham
  • Eggs


Maintaining appropriate levels of each of these vitamins is essential to normal body function. While most people will get their required daily intake without having to change much about their normal diet, it is important to realize what can go wrong if there is a deficiency of one of these vitamins.



In Conclusion

Eating healthy is important for living a long, happy life. While it may be easy to take things like dietary vitamins for granted, understanding how they influence body processes can help ensure that you be sure that you or your loved ones are getting the proper foods. At Landmark Senior Living, we can help each of our residents with their respective needs, including dietary needs. Our assisted living facilities comes with a long list of amenities and social events to keep our residents happy and healthy.



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Topics: Senior Health

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