As the spring comes, the light brightens and the day lengthens. Not only does this benefit our gardens, but it also benefits our mental and physical health. While there are many reasons for this, one of the main reasons is the increase in Vitamin D. Vitamin D is an essential supplement and improves bone health, physical ability, and energy. It is a staple for most adults, especially older adults, to take vitamin D because it assists in the body’s ability to absorb calcium. Calcium absorption is critical for building and maintaining bone mass to retain strength. Without necessary calcium absorption, seniors are prone to falls, injuries, fatigue, and joint pain.
How to Increase Your Vitamin D Intake
While absorbing vitamin D from the sun shining on your skin may be the most enjoyable way to get your vitamin D intake, it is not the most recommended. Spending time outdoors and in the sunshine can increase mental wellness and vitamin D absorption but unfortunately, sun damage can also lead to sunburns and skin cancer. In order to be able to absorb enough vitamin D, you will need to spend approximately 30 minutes outside in direct sunlight twice a week. While it is always recommended to wear sunscreen, wearing sunscreen, covering their skin, and sitting indoors will not improve their vitamin D levels. Another concern is that most northern countries do not provide enough daylight during the full year to make this the most consistent plan. Therefore, it is best you have a daily strategy to supplement the ever-changing weather.
The most common way that adults and especially older adults get their daily dose of vitamin D is through supplements. this is because it can be easily monitored to ensure that your elderly loved one is getting the exact dose necessary. It is also helpful for seniors who have low appetites or food aversion because you can take your daily dose of vitamin D all at once without the need for a full meal. However, there are some medications that conflict with vitamin D supplements so consulting your doctor before taking any vitamin supplements or over-the-counter medications is imperative that it does not interact harmfully with pre-existing medications. As well after introducing the supplements you should be recording and documenting the effects on your elderly loved one in order to be able to bring accurate information to your doctor if the need arises.
Food is Medicine
As they say, “you are what you eat,” and if you are eating vitamin D-rich foods then you will have strong bones and teeth. There are many foods that are naturally packed with vitamin D including dairy, eggs, and fish, however there are also a lot of food products that are fortified with vitamin D as well as other vitamins. Many dairy products, non-dairy kinds of milk, cereals, and orange juice are fortified with vitamin D to increase your intake.
Foods Rich in Vitamin D:
- Fatty Fish (450 IU)
- Eggs (80 IU for two yolks)
- Dairy Products (80 IU)
- Non-dairy milk (100 IU)
- Cereals (200 – 350 IU)
- Orange juice (100 IU)
Vitamin D deficiency is highly common, especially in older adults. Therefore, it is important to create a plan for your elderly love so they can age healthy and strong.
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