Nutritional supplements demystified

The sheer number of nutritional supplements on the market can be overwhelming. Seniors especially are faced with the daunting task of choosing from hundreds of supplements to complement an unvaried or restricted diet. This, coupled with a lack of information, is enough to leave many wringing their hands in frustrated indecision.

As an unfortunate consequence, many shy away from taking supplements altogether. So how do you decide which supplements are right for you?

Ravinder Lilly, Nutritionist at USANA Health Sciences, says, “Even if you have the time to wade through the inexhaustible list of recommended supplements, it can be hard to find a straightforward answer to this question.”

“It is also highly recommended that seniors seek medical advice from their doctor as to the deficiencies they need to address with supplements, and let the trained professionals take the hard work out of the decision for you,” continues Ms. Lilly.

But the healthiest way to address deficiencies is to get the vitamins or minerals through your diet. Ms. Lilly recommends that seniors struggling to maintain a balanced diet should look to the following foods, which can easily be incorporated into a restricted diet to provide major health benefits:

Oily fish
Eating a diet which is rich in omega-3 fats is important in helping reduce inflammation around the body. It is also thought to help protect against the onset of age-related macular degeneration, which is one of the most common causes of poor vision amongst seniors. Try to eat at least two to three serves of oily fish each week. White fish also contains some omega-3s, as does canned tuna.

Berries and leafy greens
Foods rich in vitamins A and C and the phytochemicals xanthin and lutein (which are found in highly coloured fruits and vegetables) can help to protect your eyes from age-related macular degeneration. Berries and other deeply coloured fruits and leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach are rich in protective plant pigments.

Low-fat dairy products, fortified soya products, pulses and grains
Foods rich in calcium are useful in aiding healthy growth and repair of skeletal tissue and regulation of key body functions. Calcium also plays a significant role in nerve signal transmission, muscle contractions, hormonal secretion and blood clotting.

“It can be far more difficult for seniors to maintain a healthy diet due to factors such as ailments, allergies and loss of appetite. Looking to supplements and superfoods to support a diet is a great step in the right direction,” concludes Ms. Lilly.

Ravinder Lilly, is a nutritionist at USANA Health Sciences

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David Cassidy