Assisted Living Monthly: Vitamins and Brain Health

Living a healthy life with a well-balanced and nutritious diet has been proven to help us as we age. Lately, some studies have shown that vitamin supplements can play a part in supporting our brain health as we age. As many of the residents of Ashford Assisted Living struggle with their memory to a certain extent, we felt that the link between vitamins and memory was important to highlight.

Link Between Vitamins And Brain Health

An overview of many studies concerning vitamins and the brain health of seniors has brought several insights to our attention.

  • Senior multivitamins – There is a large market for senior multivitamins. Since medical science cannot yet treat and cure the different types of dementia, many people choose homeopathic remedies like vitamin supplements. However, many senior vitamins have fillers and may not have the right blend of vitamins your elderly loved one needs for their personal upkeep.
  • Women and vitamins – As women’s physiology differs from men’s, they need different amounts of vitamins. A related study found that many older women can have higher mortality rates if they over-consume vitamins like iron, copper, B6, magnesium, multivitamins, folic acid, and zinc.
  • Supplements vs food – All the studies seem to state that if your elderly loved one is receiving a varied and nutritious diet, they should not need many vitamin supplements. However, unless you live with your loved one or they live at a top-notch assisted living facility, it cannot be guaranteed that their diet is nutritious enough to be receiving all the vitamins they need from food alone.

Which Vitamins Are Especially Good For Seniors

While having an overall healthy diet is the goal, there are some vitamins which are especially helpful as people age. Below are some of the top vitamins, their recommended dietary intake levels, and what foods you can find them in.

Calcium – Osteoporosis is a large concern as we age, as brittle and weak bones can leave individuals vulnerable to dangerous breaks. Men are recommended to take in 1,000 mg daily while women are recommended to intake 1,200 mg. Some foods you can find high in calcium are:

  • Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt)
  • Fruit (figs, oranges)
  • Vegetables (broccoli, green beans, sweet potato)
  • Legumes (white beans, edamame, black-eyed peas)

Vitamin D – Consuming vitamin D is important for several reasons. It helps you absorb calcium, reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers, and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Men and women are recommended to intake 120 mg daily. Some foods you can find high in vitamin D are:

  • Meat (beef liver, salmon, tuna)
  • Vegetables (collards, spinach, kale)
  • Legumes (soybeans, white beans)

B12 – As we age, it becomes harder to absorb B12 and a deficiency in B12 has been linked to memory problems. Anemia is also a potential danger if there is a B12 deficiency. Luckily, B12 daily recommended doses are small, measuring in micrograms (mcg). Men and women should take in 2.4 mcg (0.0024 mg) of B12 daily. It makes it easier to eat the right foods to receive this amount, which foods are:

  • Fish (trout, tuna, salmon)
  • Other meats (chicken breast, ham, beef)
  • Dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese)

Omega-3 – Making sure your elderly loved one receives enough omega-3 can allow them to benefit from reduced heart disease, weight management, and retinal functionality. Men are recommended to take in 1.6 g daily while women are recommended to intake 1.1 g daily. Many of the foods which are rich in B12 are also rich in omega-3, such as:

  • Fish (salmon, trout, sardines)
  • Legumes (kidney beans, baked beans, refried beans)
  • Seeds (walnuts, flaxseed, chia seeds)

Here at Ashford Assisted Living, we take your loved one’s nutrition seriously. We provide 3 in-house made meals as well as nutritious snacks along with our other services. Contact us today and help your aging relative live in health and comfort throughout their golden years.

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