As you age, your body needs different vitamins to prevent aging and give you optimal health. It is always important to eat well to get your vital nutrients, but no one can have a perfect diet. That’s where vitamins come in. Here are some of the best vitamins to include in your diet after age 40:
- Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is essential for normal blood and brain function and isn’t absorbed as well as you age. Vitamin B12 is in meat and animal products including chicken, fish, dairy and eggs. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you especially need to take this vitamin. Aim for 2.4 mg per day, but don’t worry if you take any dose over than that. You’ll just pee out what you don’t need.
- As you age, your bones start to age as well. Calcium also helps your muscles, nerves and heart function well. However, studies have shown extra calcium in the body can cause increased risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiac death. Aim for 1,000 mg a day or 1,200 mg if you’re over 50. Don’t take any more than that, especially if you eat calcium-rich foods like spinach, dairy, tofu, broccoli, almonds and sardines.
- Vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for everyone, especially those over 40 because it helps protect against diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, and some cancers. Also, vitamin D is essential if you want to absorb that calcium you’re also taking. You can get vitamin D from fish, dairy, grains, and cereals but it is generally poorly absorbed from food. The best ways to get vitamin D are from the sun or a supplement. If you don’t live in a sunny climate or spend a lot of time indoors (remember if you get a lot of sun, you need sunscreen to fight off harmful UVA and UVB rays and you’ll still absorb the vitamin D), you definitely need at least 600 IU per day of vitamin D3.
- Magnesium helps regulate blood pressure and deficiencies in magnesium can be linked to heart disease, inflammation and diabetes. Magnesium can also help the body absorb calcium. Aim for 320 mg a day. You can probably get all the magnesium you need from food. Think dark leafy greens like kale, beans, soy products, seeds, nuts and avocados. If you go overboard on magnesium, it could lead to diarrhea, nausea and cramps so be careful.
- Studies have shown if you get enough potassium from food, you have a lower risk of getting a stroke. You only need about 2 g per day! Doctors recommend getting it from your food instead of supplements (unless they recommend it to you based on a condition you have). Eat bananas, chard, beans, lentils and sweet potatoes.
- Omega-3 fatty acids. These aren’t technically a vitamin, but they have tons of health benefits, especially as you age. They keep the brain sharp and heart healthy. They help lower blood pressure, LDL cholesterol levels, reduce risk of heart disease and help your memory. You can get omega-3s from fish, flaxseed, walnuts and leafy vegetables, but supplements never hurt. Aim for 500 mg if you’re healthy, 800 to 1,000 mg if you have any type of heart disease and up to 4,000 if you have high triglyceride levels. Ask your doctor for the right dose if you’re unsure.
- Probiotics aren’t technically vitamins either, but are crucial for a healthy immune system and good digestion. They can help lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and keep your weight in check.
Do you take any or all of these vitamins? Share with us your thoughts!