In addition to a healthy diet, the human body needs many vitamins and minerals, especially in winter, when the cold season increases. There are countless vitamins that produce different functions and modes of action in the body.
Vitamins and minerals are two of the main nutrients your body needs to survive and stay healthy. Vitamins help your body to grow and work as it should. There are 13 vitamins – vitamins A, C, D, E, K and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, B6, B12 and folic acid).
Vitamins have different tasks – they help you resist infections, keep your nerves healthy and help your body gain energy from food or your blood to clot right. If you follow the dietary guidelines, you will get enough of most of these vitamins from your diet.
Minerals also help your body function. Some minerals such as iodine and fluorine are only needed in very small amounts. Others such as calcium, magnesium and potassium are needed in larger quantities. As with vitamins, if you eat a varied diet, you will probably get enough of most minerals.
Measurements for vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and minerals are measured in different ways. The most common are:
- mg – milligram
- mcg – microgram
- IU – International Unity
Micrograms are used to measure very small amounts – one milligram contains 1,000 micrograms. The size of an international unit depends on the vitamin or drug used to measure it.
Different foods in each food group have different nutrients. By selecting an assortment in each food group during the week, you get many nutrients. For example, choose seafood twice a week instead of meat. The variety of dishes also makes your meals more interesting.
As a rule, it is better to get the necessary nutrients from the food than a pill. This is because nutritious foods contain other things that are good for you, such as fiber.
Most older people can get all the nutrients they need from food. If you are not sure, consult your doctor or registered nutritionist to find out if you are missing important vitamins or minerals. He or she may recommend a vitamin supplement.
If you need to supplement your diet, look for a supplement that contains the vitamin or mineral you need without many other unnecessary ingredients. Read the label to make sure the dose is not too high. Avoid supplements with megadoses. Too much of some vitamins and minerals can be harmful, and you may be paying for supplements that you don’t need. Your doctor or pharmacist may recommend brands that meet your needs.
Sodium is another important mineral. In most diets, sodium comes mainly from salt (sodium chloride). Whenever you add salt to your food, add sodium. However, the dietary guidelines show that most of the sodium we eat does not come from our salt shakers – many foods are added during processing or preparation. We all need some sodium, but too much can lead to high blood pressure, which can increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
How much sodium is okay? People aged 51 and over should reduce their sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day. That’s about a teaspoon of salt and contains sodium, which is added during production or cooking, as well as when eating at the table. If you suffer from high blood pressure or high blood pressure, it may be helpful to limit sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day, about 2/3 teaspoons of salt. If you prepare your own meals at home without using many processed foods or salt, you can control how much sodium you consume. Try to use less salt when cooking and do not add salt. Also pay attention to food products labelled as “low sodium”, “unsalted”, “without added salt”, “sodium-free” or “salt-free”. Also check the nutrition label for how much sodium is in a serving.
It also helps to eat more fresh vegetables and fruit or eat in the form of smoothies – they are naturally low in sodium and provide more potassium.
Important vitamins and minerals
- Vitamin D:
You need at least 15 mcg (600 IU) daily, but not more than 100 mcg (4,000 IU). If you are over 70 years old, you will need at least 20 mcg (800 IU), but not more than 100 mcg (4,000 IU). They can obtain vitamin D from fatty fish, fish liver oils, fortified milk and dairy products, as well as fortified cereals. We have information on this from the page: https://www.vitamine.com/vitamin-d/
- Vitamin B12:
You need 2.4 micrograms per day. You can get this vitamin from meat, fish, poultry, milk and fortified breakfast cereals. Some people over 50 have problems absorbing the naturally occurring vitamin B12 in foods. They may need to take vitamin B12 supplements and eat foods enriched with this vitamin.
- Calcium / Clacium
You need 1,000 mg per day. Men aged 71 and over and women aged 51 and over need 1,200 mg daily. Do not consume more than 2,000 mg per day. Calcium is a mineral that is important for strong bones and teeth. Therefore, there are specific recommendations for older people who are at risk of bone loss. You can get calcium from milk and other dairy products, some forms of tofu, dark green leafy vegetables, soybeans, canned sardines and salmon with bones and calcium-enriched foods.
Women need 320 mg daily. Men need 420 mg. This mineral is generally contained in foods containing fiber, such as green leafy vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts and seeds. Breakfast cereals and other fortified foods often contain magnesium. Magnesium is also contained in tap water, mineral water or bottled drinking water.
4,700 mg per day are sufficient. Many different fruit, vegetable, meat and dairy products contain potassium. Potassium-rich foods include dried apricots, lentils and potatoes. Adults receive a lot of potassium from milk, coffee, tea and other soft drinks.
More great information about vitamins and minerals can be found on this website.