Vitamins and minerals are like an army of soldiers that fight various infections, diseases and conditions every day. Although we can easily absorb vitamins when we’re young, things get harder when we hit 40. After 40, the body just doesn’t work properly anymore – the muscle mass starts decreasing, the metabolism slows down, and the risk of chronic diseases goes up significantly. This is why it’s important to keep the body supplemented with certain nutrients like the ones on the list below:
Vitamin B12 is important for the blood and brain and can be found in fish, eggs, chicken and milk. The vitamin is hard to absorb after the age of 40 due to the decrease in stomach acid, so you must take about 2.4 mcg. of it a day through some vitamin supplements.
Calcium is an important mineral for the bones – it prevents the risk of fractures and other bone problems which has been proven by several studies. However, other studies have shown that calcium supplements also increase the risk of heart attack, heart failure and stroke in postmenopausal women, so scientists are divided on its benefits. Seeing as the mineral is important for proper bone, muscle and nerve function, we suggest consuming it through foods such as tofu, sardines, spinach and almonds every day.
Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for our body after we pass 40. Lack of it is a serious problem that has been related to heart disease, MS and breast cancer. Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium in the body and can be found in fortified dairy products, fortified grains and cereal and some types of fish. It’s better to get the most vitamin D from the sun as the body isn’t able to absorb it from foods properly. However, if you’re not living in a sunny area, you should be getting about 600 IU (International Units) of vitamin D a day through a vitamin D3 supplement or the aforementioned foods.
Magnesium is another important mineral that can regulate blood pressure and is indispensable for anyone over the age of 40. Magnesium deficiency has been related to diabetes, heart disease and inflammation and it also helps the body absorb calcium. Magnesium also plays a role in the heart, nerve and muscle function and regulates the blood sugar levels as well. The mineral can be found in beans, soy, nuts, avocado and seeds or multivitamin supplements. Excess magnesium in the body is a rarity, but it may cause diarrhea, nausea or cramps.
Potassium is one of the most important minerals for our health. It plays a vital role in the maintenance of blood pressure regardless of age, and has been related to reduced risk of stroke in postmenopausal women. Studies have shown that increased potassium intake can reduce the risk of stroke, although the increased intake in the tests was 3.1 gr., which is far lower than the 4.7 gr. recommended per day. More than that can damage your gastrointestinal tract and heart and may be cause arrhythmia which can have fatal consequences. Potassium can be found in bananas, spinach, beans, lentils and sweet potatoes. If your doctor suggests potassium supplements, he\she should closely monitor your levels.
Although not technically a vitamin, omega-3 fatty acids have a spot on this list. Our body requires them after the age of 40 and lack of these compounds has been related to heart disease and cognitive decline. According to research, omega-3s can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well as the risk of heart disease. These compounds can keep your memory and brain sharp – a recent study showed that people with a high level of omega-3 fatty acids have healthier brains and better cognitive performance.
Omega-3s can be found in fish, nuts and leafy green vegetables, but they are best absorbed through a supplement. Experts recommend 500 mg. a day if you’re healthy; 800-1000 mg. if you’re suffering from heart disease and 2000-4000 if you have high triglyceride levels. If you’re unsure of the proper dosage, consult with your doctor.
Probiotics are essential for our gut and overall health after we turn 40. There’s a growing amount of evidence which suggests that probiotics can keep your gut healthy and reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke, especially in women over 40. Probiotics can be found in fermented foods and dairy products, but it’s best to get them through a supplement. They are live bacteria which can be destroyed during the process of cooking, which is why supplements are the best choice.