Even though our bodies can be said to be unique from one person to the next in terms of shape, size and level of health one thing is clear: a balanced diet and healthy eating plan full of nutrients and vitamins is always guaranteed to help the body perform better in almost every way. Whether it’s fighting off illness and disease, increasing strength in bones, or reenergising the blood supply and immune system, nutrients and minerals have essential roles to play. Read on for our advice on why you should include them in your diet.

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Vitamin D

Vitamin D is most often produced in reaction to sunlight, although also found in other forms through food –foods such as oily fish, eggs, margarine, yoghurt and fortified breakfast cereals are known to be rich sources of Vitamin D. The problem is that mny people over the age of 65 are at risk of not getting enough vitamin D, especially when not exposed to sunlight regularly, and this can have a detrimental effect on the body.

Iron

Without iron in our system our bodies would have great difficulty in producing the necessary amount of red blood cells to carry oxygen around the body. The good news is that iron is readily accessible from foods such as red meat, pulses and beans, eggs, wholegrain products, nuts and seeds, green leafy vegetables, dried fruit and fortified cereals. Experts claim that iron deficiency in elderly people is a warning sign for an underlying health problem.

Calcium

Calcium is most known for its role in building strong bones and teeth, regulating muscle contractions, including heartbeat, and stabilising a normal clot of blood. Milk, as you know, can offer the basic health benefits but also consider eating cheese and yoghurt as well as green leafy vegetables, nuts and fish like sardines for a more balanced diet. Having 3-4 portions of dairy products a day should give you all the calcium that your body needs.

B vitamins

There a multiple vitamins out there that all have their own function in the body, some of which includes breaking down energy from food, retaining health of the skin, eyes and nervous system healthy, and producing red blood cells. As long as you try to ensure that you eat a well-balanced diet, including wholegrain and cereals, it’s a given that your body will have a sufficient amount of B vitamins. Unfortunately, as we age it becomes more difficult to absorb B vitamins, such decrease can lead to risk of anaemia and neurological problems such as memory loss. Aim to include fish, meat and dairy to help starve off these types of health issues.

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Vitamin C

Try to include five or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day to give your body a fighting chance of protecting against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling. Studies have shown that only 10% to 20% of adults receive the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables daily, less so in elderly people.

This article was provided by FirstCare, a leading nursing home care and elderly healthcare specialist in Ireland. For more information visit www.firstcare.ie