The role of a balanced diet in old age cannot be undermined. That is because its contents play a crucial role in avoiding age-related ailments and enhancing the immune system to fight against various infections attacks. It also protects the various internal organs against damage and fosters the regeneration of new cells. Amongst the various vitamins and minerals, vitamin D and calcium are vital ingredients that play a role in elderly health and well-being. Calcium and vitamin D deficiency degenerate the bones and teeth frequently causing osteoporosis, hampering body resistance and even raising the risk of various mental illnesses.
Besides these two essential foods, one cannot ignore the role of vitamin c for healthy aging as it is responsible for the formation, growth and repair of body tissues. A colourful vegetarian healthy diet consisting of plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, proteins, healthy carbohydrates and fats can indeed furnish all these required nutrients appropriately. However, food allergy in seniors is a common problem that hinders proper nutrition. Therefore, senior care services should focus on overcoming this challenge. Athulya Assisted Living, the most preferred choice of retirement abodes for the senior living community, is known for its customized balanced tasty menus served daily to its residents.
Symptoms of Calcium and Vitamin D Deficiency
- Joint and bone pain especially in the back
- Frequent bouts of illness
- Unexplained exhaustion and tiredness
- Loss of bone mass and density
- Hair loss
- Slower healing of wounds
- Muscular pain
- Depression and anxiety
- Impaired sleep patterns
Role of Vitamin D and Calcium in Elderly Health
- Enhances better bone health in the elders and prevents osteoporosis. By ensuring that bones don’t soften up or become brittle and weak, Vitamin D protects elders from falls, trips and injuries. For best results, Vitamin D should be consumed with calcium.
- Boosts mental happiness and well-being leading to greater happiness. Vitamin D deficiency is likely to cause depression, isolation, disturbed sleep and lack of interest in any form of activity.
- Ensures the proper functioning of the parathyroid gland by promoting proper absorption of calcium using Vitamin D. This ensures that the parathyroid glands maintain the proper balance of calcium in the blood by communicating with the kidneys, gut and skeleton.
- Safeguards the body from attacks of infections and dangerous diseases like cancer by boosting the immune system. Particularly, Vitamin D is known to avoid the common cold, flu and other respiratory disorders. It also reduces the risk of colon cancer and blood cancer.
- Protects oral health by making the teeth healthy and reducing the likelihood of decay and gum problems. It also delays the onset of tooth loss. It also enhances the body’s ability to absorb calcium.
- Decreases the probability of getting Parkinson’s disease. It also helps to improve symptoms of this disease after diagnosis.
- Act as anti-inflammatory foods thereby reducing stiffness and pain prevalent in old age particularly in the joints and muscles fostering better movement.
- Plays a crucial role in the regeneration of brain cells and is actively involved in the production of body antioxidants.
Foods rich in Calcium and Vitamin D
Dairy products like milk, cheese and curds furnish calcium. Some dairy-free calcium sources are chia seeds, soy milk, almonds, dried figs, tofu, white beans, spinach, kale, okra, sunflower seeds, fish and broccoli.
Foods rich in vitamin D include fatty fish like salmon and tuna, fortified dairy products like cheese and egg yolk, orange juice, beef and cereals
Complications of Calcium and Vitamin D Deficiency
- Cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure (hypertension)
- Immunity disorders
- Falls and injuries
- Certain types of cancers including colon, prostate and breast cancer
- Multiple sclerosis
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Enumerate the recommended amount of Vitamin D and Calcium intake for seniors?
A daily Intake of 15 micrograms of vitamin D for elders below 71 years and 20 micrograms of vitamin D for those above 71 years is recommended.
With respect to calcium, seniors are advised to take 1000-1200 milligrams of calcium daily.
- What percentage of seniors are affected by osteoporosis due to calcium and vitamin D deficiency?
According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), the percentage of seniors affected by osteoporosis is 16%.
- Which category of people find it difficult to get vitamin D in their diet?
People suffering from lactose intolerance are likely to get vitamin D from their diet.
- Enumerate the primary sources of vitamin D.
Regular exposure to the sun, foods eaten daily, nutritional supplements.
- Name some of the health conditions and procedures that cause vitamin D deficiency.
Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, obesity, weight loss surgeries, kidney and liver diseases.
Thus, eating foods enriched with calcium and vitamin D and sufficient exposure to sunlight is advisable for the healthy ageing of elders.