How to Know Which Supplements You Need in Your Diet

By: - September 30, 2020

 

 

Eating healthy and staying physically active are important habits for every age group. As we get older, our bodies go through natural changes and begin to need different amounts of nutrients than when we were younger. 

Certain daily supplements and food groups are more important for older adults, and staying educated on your needs will help you age gracefully and fitfully. 

What Supplements Should I Take Daily?

It is important to eat a balanced diet with plenty of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, proteins, and healthy fats. If you have special health concerns, there may be food groups you eat more or less of. For example, people with high blood pressure are advised to eat less salt and more vegetables. Those with cholesterol imbalances may need to focus more on how much fat they eat and on getting enough fiber. Talk to your doctor or dietician for your specific recommendations. 

The following are some great daily supplements for adults to be taking. These will help you to stay healthy, have a strong immune system, increase energy, support better digestive health, and more. 

Collagen

What is collagen? Collagen is a type of protein that builds the connective tissues in your body like your skin, hair, nails, tendons, ligaments, bones, and muscles. It is built out of amino acids that you can receive from daily supplements or your diet.

You may have heard of collagen for its abilities to strengthen your skin, potentially reduce wrinkles, and slow signs of aging. Collagen may do all of this and more!

Many older adults are using collagen for weight loss, wound healing, muscle building, joint pain relief, to help manage digestive issues and to support bone density and strength. If any of these are top of mind, a daily collagen protein supplement may have great benefits for you, too. 

The good news is that our bodies naturally produce collagen.

The bad news is, our natural collagen production slows around age 25. And, because collagen comes from the connective tissues of animal products, most Americans don’t receive enough from diet alone. Therefore, a daily liquid protein shot may be a helpful – and easy – way ensure you are getting enough collagen. 

How much collagen should I take?

Collagen is associated with many health benefits and very few known risks or side effects. Due to the fact that it is a complete protein and offers great benefits when it comes to injury recovery and prevention, it’s quickly becoming the protein of choice for older adults, athletes, and fitness enthusiasts. 

When choosing a collagen protein supplement for yourself, it’s a good idea to pick one that contains collagen in a hydrolyzed form, which means it’s been broken down into a smaller molecule size for digestibility. Additionally, you should check to see if it contains all the essential amino acids to make it a complete protein supplement (most don’t). Then, aim for 12-20 grams of protein per serving.

Our ProT Gold Medical Grade Collagen Protein checks all those boxes and delivers a perfect serving size in one easy to use packet or one multi-serving bottle.  

Calcium and Vitamin D

Calcium and vitamin D are essential for good bone health as you age. Loss of bone density is normal as you get older and can start as early as your late 20’s and 30’s.

To combat this, extra supplementation or dietary intake with calcium and vitamin D is important. 

How much calcium and vitamin D do I need?

The CDC recommends that women under 50 receive 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily, and then 1,200 milligrams daily after age 50. Men should receive 1,000 milligrams each day until age 70 and then 1,200 milligrams after that. It’s important to note that the ideal amount per serving is 500 milligrams, as that will help with absorption. If you want to meet the maximum recommendation, you could take one pill of 500 mg each morning and night.

You can also receive calcium from foods like fortified cereal, dark green leafy vegetables, canned fish, milk, and fortified juice or milk alternatives.  

For vitamin D, which is what helps calcium to absorb into the bones correctly, 1000 IU/day is recommended.

The easiest way to get plenty of vitamin D is by being in the sun for at least 15 minutes each day. Though it may also be wise to take a vitamin D supplement, especially if you are in an area with less sunlight or four seasons. 

Vitamin B12 

Studies have found that about 4 out of 10 adults over 50 have a vitamin B12 deficiency. This vitamin is essential for a healthy nervous system, strong red blood cells, and to combat fatigue and weakness. Vitamin B12 may help to improve your overall energy and may even support good memory. 

How much vitamin B12 do I need?

It is recommended that adults over age 50 should supplement with about 500 mcg of B12 daily. 

The dose may seem high, but your body doesn’t absorb 100% of supplemental vitamins.

Therefore, a higher dose is appropriate so that you get what you need. Studies have found that taking a daily 500 mcg supplement of vitamin B12 helped to restore normal levels in 90% of participants. It is possible you need a higher dose, and you should work with your physician to personalize your supplement plan. 

Foods that are high in vitamin B12 include beef, liver, chicken, fish, fortified cereal, milk, yogurt, and eggs. Since these are all derived from animals or animal by-products, vegetarians and vegans are at a higher risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. They should take special measures to get enough. 

Fiber

As you age, it is normal for your digestive system to slow down or become less efficient at proper elimination.

If you are having trouble with bowel movements it can be tempting to take laxative supplements. While these can be useful on rare occasions, taking them regularly can actually damage your digestive tract and cause long-term constipation issues.

Instead, eating a diet that is rich in fiber can help you to stay regular and comfortable. Fiber also helps to support healthy cholesterol levels and prevent Type 2 diabetes

How much fiber do I need?

Adults need a minimum of 25 grams of fiber every day. You can get fiber by eating whole grains and cereals, beans, peas, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

If you feel you aren’t getting enough fiber from your diet, you can also take a fiber supplement with 5-15 grams of fiber per dose. 

Polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated Fats

It is important to pay attention to the types of fat you are consuming. 

Saturated and trans fats tend to increase your risk for heart disease and inflammation, while polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats support a healthy heart, as well as offering you other important benefits.

Healthy fats provide a source of energy, are important for building healthy cells, are necessary to properly absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), and provide insulation for our bodies and organs. 

How much fat do I need?

The current dietary recommendation for fat in adults is 20% to 35% of your total daily calories from fat. 

You will need to calculate your average calorie intake to determine how many grams this is for you, but it generally falls around 40-70 grams of fat per day (based off of a 2,000 calorie diet). You can break it up further by making sure 15%-20% of your calories are monounsaturated, with polyunsaturated fats making up 5%-10% of your total calories. 

Anti-Aging Nutritional Supplements

If you’re looking for daily supplements that are particularly helpful for anti-aging, you may benefit from incorporating certain superfoods into your daily diet.

What are superfoods? A superfood is a term coined to describe any food that has particularly strong health benefits. Anti-aging superfoods include:

  • Collagen peptides – helpful in strengthening your hair, skin, and nails. Collagen also offers anti-aging benefits by rebuilding healthy tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues. The terms “collagen peptides” and “hydrolyzed collagen” can be used to describe the same products.
  • Polyphenols and antioxidants – fight free radicals and may protect the brain from stress, improve memory and learning, and improve overall brain health. 
  • Zinc and copper – when taken together, they form a powerful antioxidant called copper-zinc superoxide dismutase which can help boost immunity and slow signs of aging. 
  • Curcumin –  this is an active ingredient found in turmeric that is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Chronic inflammation increases your risk for conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and premature aging. You can take curcumin as a supplement or add fresh turmeric to your recipes, combining it with black pepper to significantly enhance absorption. 

Choosing Daily Supplements For Your Unique Needs

It is important to remember that everyone is unique, and what works for one person may not be useful for you. When you are choosing your daily supplements, take a close look at your lifestyle and health and wellness goals. 

Take into account your activity level, your sleep habits, any underlying health conditions or ailments, and adjust your diet and supplements accordingly. 

Always work with a qualified dietician or medical professional before making big changes.

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