Healthy, wealthy and wise
As the great poet Virgil said, The greatest wealth is health. Years of research have shown that through prevention, we can preserve much of our biological wealth, delaying or even avoiding age-related diseases. Well, prevention begins with nutrition. Here are six power nutrients that may hold the key to aging with vitality and vigor.
Nutrient: Calcium The most plentiful mineral in the body
What it does Calcium is essential for the function of many cellular processes. But its most important role is building strong, dense bones and keeping bones strong later in life.
What to eat Milk and other dairy foods, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, broccoli, figs, quinoa, kale, beans
What we know
Supplemental calcium isn’t just for post-menopausal women. Men also need it in order to avoid osteoporosis, which can lead to devastating fractures. Dairy foods are some of the main dietary sources of calcium, but the ability to digest these foods effectively often declines as people age, leading to calcium deficiencies.
What a healthy adult should take* 1,200 milligrams of supplemental calcium per day
Nutrient:Coenzyme Q10 A fat-soluble, vitamin-like compound also known as ubiquinone
What it does CoQ10 is a key component of the cellular energy system the
mechanism that allows us to convert food into the energy that fuels our bodies. It is also important for heart health and functions as a powerful antioxidant.
What to eat Fish, whole grains
What we know Statin drugs can reduce blood levels of CoQ10 by up to 40 percent. Since CoQ10 deficiencies are associated with heart disease, many health care providers recommend that patients taking statins supplement with CoQ10.
What a healthy adult should take* 100 to 400 milligrams per day
Nutrient:Vitamin D A group of fat-soluble hormones
What it does Vitamin D activates proteins in the digestive tract that improve
the body’s ability to absorb calcium and promote bone mineralization. There have been many studies of the vitamins other potential health benefits, from heart health to mood, brain and eye health.
What to eat Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel), cod liver oil, fortified milk and other fortified dairy products
What we know The best natural source of vitamin D is exposure to direct sunlight (the sun doesn’t have the same effect through window glass). Light-skinned people tend to produce the highest levels, while people with darker skin and those living at northern latitudes produce the least.
What a healthy adult should take*A minimum of 2,000 International Units per day
Nutrient: Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) A sulfur-based antioxidant compound
What it does ALA is found in every cell in the body and plays a role in
converting glucose (blood sugar) into energy. It is also one of the most potent antioxidants known.
What to eat Green, leafy vegetables and red meat
What we know Extensive research has shown that ALA can be effective at reducing symptoms of metabolic syndrome (a precursor to Type 2 diabetes that presents as a combination of extra abdominal fat, low good cholesterol, high triglycerides and hypertension or pre-hypertension). It also supports healthy blood sugar levels.
What a healthy adult should take*100 milligrams per day
Nutrient: Resveratrol A powerful antioxidant produced by plants. Because it is found in grape skins, resveratrol is associated with the health benefits of red wine
What it does An antioxidant, resveratrol protects cells from the free radical
damage associated with aging. Clinical evidence suggests that it may promote heart and vascular health and support immune function.
What to eat Red grapes, peanuts, dark chocolate
What we know Resveratrol is present in red grape skins, but not the grape flesh. So the amount of the nutrient in wine is quite small. For this reason, supplementation may be more effective than diet for delivering resveratrols full benefits.
What a healthy adult should take*100 milligrams per day, a significantly higher level than found in red wine
Nutrient: Multivitamin Tablet, capsule, gummy or liquid containing multiple vitamins, minerals and trace nutrients
What it does A multivitamin supplements diets that are potentially deficient in
key nutrients vital to health as people age.
What to eat A well-balanced, varied diet of whole, fresh foods
What we know Because appetite and taste often diminish with age, some people older than about age 55 do not eat a well-balanced diet. For such individuals, a daily multivitamin can provide important nutrients such as the antioxidants lycopene and lutein as well as calcium and B vitamins.
What a healthy adult should take*One complete multivitamin per day, preferably with a meal containing fat, which improves absorption of vitamins D and E. Your multivitamin should not contain iron unless you have iron-deficiency anemia.
*Consult your physician or Pharmacist before starting or changing any medication or supplement. Follow all dosing instructions.
Dr. Andrew Myers is an expert in nutrition and preventive medicine and the co-author of Health Is Wealth: 10 Power Nutrients That Increase Your Odds of Living to 100 and Health Is Wealth: Performance Nutrition. Visit healthiswealth.net for more information.