Good health in your 60s and beyond will ensure that your golden years live up to your expectations. The key to staying healthy is following a diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods that supply your body with the vitamins it needs to function properly. Knowing your daily vitamin needs will help you determine what changes you need to make to your diet, if any, to keep your mind sharp and your body disease-free.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble nutrient that your body stores in fat tissue. As you approach 60, vitamin A becomes especially important for eye health and immune system support. In addition, plant sources of vitamin A usually come in the form of beta carotene, an important antioxidant that protects your cells from free radical damage, and may reduce your risk of developing heart disease and certain types of cancers. The Dietary Reference Intake, or DRI, for vitamin A is 700 international units, or IU, per day. Food sources include liver, fortified milk, carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe and spinach.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient that also supports immune health and acts as an antioxidant. As a water-soluble vitamin, your body does not store it. Rather, it excretes any excess in your urine. Vitamin C is also an important component of a structural protein called collagen, which is necessary for wound healing. The recommended daily intake for vitamin C for a 60-year-old woman is 75 milligrams a day. Rich food sources include peppers, kiwi, oranges, strawberries, cantaloupe, spinach, kale and broccoli.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient that helps you absorb calcium and supports bone health. Vitamin D is especially important for post-menopausal women because of its role in bone health and osteoporosis prevention. Although your body can make some vitamin D, your ability decreases as you get older. A healthy diet should include 15 micrograms of vitamin D a day. Good food sources include fortified dairy products, egg yolks, liver and fatty fish, such as salmon. The main source of vitamin D for most people is sunshine, so be sure to get outside every day.
The primary role vitamin A plays in your body is in its antioxidant activity. It protects your cells from premature aging and other detrimental effects of free radical damage. Adequate intakes of vitamin E may also help support immune health. At 60, you need 15 milligrams of vitamin E a day. Reliable food sources include wheat germ, almonds, sunflower seeds and peanut butter.
Your body also makes some vitamin K, with assistance from the bacteria in your gut. Vitamin K is a fat-soluble nutrient that plays an important role in blood clotting. Some women have issues with blood clotting as they age and may need to avoid foods high in vitamin K to prevent interactions with medication. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned. A 60-year-old woman's recommended daily intake for vitamin K is 90 micrograms a day. Food sources of vitamin K include spinach, kale and broccoli.
The B-vitamins are a group of eight water-soluble nutrients that your body needs in small amounts to convert the food you eat into energy. At 60, you need 1.1 milligrams of thiamin, 1.1 milligrams of riboflavin, 14 milligrams of niacin, 1.5 milligrams of vitamin B-6, 400 micrograms of folate, 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B-12, 5 milligrams of pantothenic acid and 30 micrograms of biotin a day. Food sources include meats, whole grains and vegetables. Your ability to absorb vitamin B-12 decreases as you age and can impair neurological function. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing numbness in your hands or feet, fatigue or weakness.
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intake Tablesrel="nofollow"
- Office of Dietary Supplements; Vitamin A; April 2006rel="nofollow"
- Office of Dietary Supplements; Vitamin C; April 2010rel="nofollow"
- Office of Dietary Supplements; Vitamin D; January 2011rel="nofollow"
- Office of Dietary Supplements; Vitamin E; December 2009rel="nofollow"
- MedlinePlus: B Vitaminsrel="nofollow"
- Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.