The 8 Essential Vitamins and Minerals for Boosting Immunity and Energy In Winter
Days are passing, and we are heading towards winter. Most of us are worried about how to keep ourselves healthy during winter. Furthermore, the Covid-19 pandemic is a growing concern and the rate of infection increases during winter. The elderly are among the most vulnerable groups to both common diseases and Covid-19.
In this regard, healthcare specialists believe that using various vitamins can help us. Many multivitamin supplements are available in the market that the elderly can choose from; however, they also can get their needed vitamins from different food available to them. Today’s Living Maples article will introduce some of the best vitamins for seniors.
Studies have confirmed vitamin B’s various advantages for the body by enhancing the immune system. There is a group of B vitamins, each of which has remarkable effects on the body.
Vitamin B1 is essential for the better functioning of the heart, while Vitamin B6 helps glycogen and protein metabolism. The other vitamins in the B category, such as B2, B3, B5, and B12, are known to reduce fatigue and the energizing effects on the body.
It should also be noted that B12 is an essential vitamin to be used during the winter months. Depression is one of the most common issues that the elderly are dealing with. Hence, adding vitamin B12 to the diet can positively affect their mood and improve their brain’s functioning.
Some seniors have difficulty eating certain foods and prefer to take b6 or b12 supplements in consultation with their doctor since they may have side effects.
The elderly can get the required amount of B vitamins through trending diets for seniors.
Whole grains, legumes, red meats, and leafy greens are abundant sources of B vitamins. Therefore, seniors can ensure their health and wellbeing during winter by using these vitamins.
A rich source of vitamin B12 is grass-fed meat and dairy products, salmon, naturally raised poultry, their eggs, and the meat of internal organs of livestock (like black liver). According to the US National Institutes of Health, plants do not naturally contain vitamin B12, and fortified plant foods do.
Vitamin B12 can be found in edible yeast, fortified cereal products, and seaweed to some extent. Despite this, these foods do not absorb as well as animal products.
The list of vitamins for the elderly should use during winter is incomplete without mentioning Vitamin C. This essential vitamin is also known as Ascorbic Acid and is among the best vitamins. Vitamin C has antioxidant qualities and can improve the immune system’s ability to fight against free radicals. Our bodies cannot produce vitamin C, so the diet should provide it. As said earlier, diseases such as cold, flu, etc., become widespread when the cold weather of the winter kicks in. The anti-viral qualities of this vitamin can help the elderly vigorously fight against viral infections.
Getting the required amount of vitamin C through Broccoli, sweet potato, citrus fruits, and strawberries is essential to ensure the immune system’s healthy functioning during winter. If the elderly cannot have fruits and foods rich in vitamin C, they can use supplements available at drugstores.
“The vitamin of the sunshine” is another name for vitamin D, and our bodies need vitamin D for healthy functioning. Recent studies on the effects of vitamin D on the elderly have shown that it influences their immune response. A low amount of this vitamin predisposes the elderly to various infections.
Exposure to sunlight provides the majority of vitamin D required for the body. However, the lack of sunny days and the vulnerability of seniors to colds reduce vitamin D storage in our bodies during winter. Since it is one of the essential vitamins for the elderly, its lack can lead to symptoms such as fatigue and weakness of the muscles.
Seniors can get the required amount of Vitamin D through oily fish, mushrooms, and dairy products. The amount of vitamin D in these foods is low, and the elderly might need vitamin D supplements to satisfy their daily needs. However, excessive amounts of vitamin D can increase calcium absorption and create life-threatening symptoms.
Vitamin E is not an essential vitamin and rarely do people face vitamin E deficiency. Still, it is on our list of the best vitamins for the elderly in winter. The cold weather of the winter can dry our skin, and vitamin E can increase the skin’s water-holding capacity. Hence it increases its softness and resiliency. Vitamin E lotions are also available on the market, and they are the best choices for supplementing the skin of the elderly.
Like vitamin E, this vitamin is essential for the health of skin and mucous membranes (eyes, respiratory tract, intestines), which are at the forefront of fighting bacteria and viruses. This vitamin is present in the form of beta-carotene in plants. Various studies have shown the positive effects of antioxidants such as vitamin A on health, longevity, strengthening the immune system, and cell growth.
Nutritionists and doctors recommend that the elderly use fruits, vegetables, and natural foods instead of supplements to get vitamin A. Broccoli, butter, and carrots are the primary sources of vitamin A.
Many people worldwide are suffering from iron deficiency, and it is much severe in the elderly and can cause problems in the body’s production of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin has the role of transferring oxygen to various tissues, and it is essential for our healthy functioning. You might ask about the benefits of iron during winter. Iron is responsible for regulating the body temperature, and it can help you overcome the coldness of winter by keeping your body warm. Its deficiency can also cause tiredness, cold hands and feet, and brittle nails.
Iron can be provided by taking supplements or adding lentils, beans, leafy green, and red meat to the current diet of the elderly.
It is not a vitamin, but it plays an essential role in elderly health during winter. Omega-3 fatty acids maintain adequate levels of blood fats or HDL. Most seniors are suffering from joint disorders. The severity of these disorders increases during the winter, while omega-3 reduces joint pain and stiffness, osteoarthritis symptoms, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Omega-3 is a supplement that should be present in the supplements list of the elderly all over the year, and it is a must during winter due to its anti-inflammatory effects. As said earlier, omega-3 also benefits the joint health of the elderly, so it is excellent protection against falls in snowy winters. Better brain functioning and concentration are among the other benefits of omega-3 supplements.
Like omega 3, zinc is not considered a vitamin. In the cold season, the possibility of many viral diseases and colds increases because usually, the immune system is weakened. Eating foods that contain zinc is perfect for improving the immune system and maintaining energy.
Zinc is an essential element for boosting the body’s immunity and energy in winter. It is also a necessary element for the health of the whole body. With zinc deficiency, the body becomes weak, and the person feels tired and bored during the day. Also, zinc deficiency causes pimples, skin burns, and dry skin. Colds, extreme tiredness, loss of appetite, mouth ulcers, respiratory or gastrointestinal infections, stunted growth, diarrhea, and night blindness are other zinc deficiency symptoms.
If these problems are not taken seriously, the immune system may become completely weak, posing a severe threat to the health of the elderly. Some foods containing zinc are sesame, egg, mushroom, and peanut.
Seniors’ bodies need Vitamins and minerals to function properly.
The table below shows the required consumption of these minerals for men and women over fifty years.
|Minerals||The recommended amount for women over 50 years||The recommended amount for men over 50 years|
|Calcium||1200 mg per day (70-51 years)
1200 mg per day (over 70 years)
|1000 mg per day (70-51 years)
1200 mg per day (over 70 years)
|Sodium||1.5 grams per day (equivalent to half a teaspoon)||1.5 grams per day (equivalent to half a teaspoon)|
|Iron||8 mg per day||8 mg per day|
|Potassium||2.6 grams per day||3.4 grams per day|
|Zinc||8 mg per day||11 mg per day|
|Magnesium||320 mg per day||420 mg per day|
Vitamins are essential to use during winter, but they should be included in our diet the whole year. They can improve our immune system, keep us warm, and prevent various diseases during cold weather. It is advisable to consult your doctor to get proper suggestions on using the best multivitamins and the right diet for your age and condition during winter. Remember, while vitamins and minerals can support a healthy immune system, they cannot “immune” or completely protect our bodies from infections on their own. However, a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals can help to strengthen our immune system, making it more effective at fighting off infections.