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If vitality and wellness is your goal in your 70s and beyond, then proper nutrition is one of your best allies. As reported in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers at Tufts University have created a senior-specific version of the US Department of Agriculture’s food pyramid, making it easier than ever to achieve your nutritional needs.
The Modified MyPyramid for Older Adults graphically highlights the importance of some easy-to-miss nutrients, helping seniors better understand their complex nutritional needs by pointing out several “potential shortfall nutrients” for people over 70. A flag at the top of the pyramid emphasizes that extra calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 might be needed.
It is important to consider that while your diet may lack many nutrients, it may be too plentiful in others. With fortification of foods and widespread use of multivitamin preparations, some seniors may get too much folic acid, which can mask the laboratory diagnosis of vitamin B12 deficiency, potentially leading to neurological damage.
Many seniors take medications that may be impacted—positively or negatively—by adding supplements to the mix. If this is true for you, look for a healthcare practitioner knowledgeable in nutritional medicine to help you learn about potential drug-nutrient interactions and supplement recommendations that may best support your health.
(J Nutr 2008;138:5–11)
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