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10 Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Nutrition and Healthy Aging

What about taking other vitamin or mineral supplements?

Some people may need to take additional supplements of certain nutrients.

For example, if you don’t eat foods rich in calcium, such as dairy products, you made need a calcium supplement. Again, talk to your doctor before taking any pills.

Should I cut back on salt in my diet?

If you have hypertension, or even if your blood pressure is at the high end of normal, cutting back on salt is recommended. The most recent evidence shows that the less sodium you consume, the lower your risk.

The American Heart Association recommends that all Americans reduce the amount of sodium in their diet to less than 1,500 milligrams each day. They estimate that if people moved to this level of sodium, it would result in a 25% decrease in high blood pressure across the country.

Because up to three-quarters of the salt we consume comes in packaged foods, labels are particularly helpful here.

How much alcohol is safe to drink?

Findings show that moderate amounts of alcohol reduce the risk of heart disease.

This does not mean you should start drinking. But if you already drink alcohol, talk to your doctor about a safe level for you -- one that maximizes benefits and minimizes risks.

Could I cut back on some of my medications by following a healthier lifestyle?

Many older people can cut back on blood pressure, cholesterol, or other medications by eating a healthier diet and getting more exercise. Some discover they can go off certain prescription drugs entirely.

Talk to your doctor about whether a healthier lifestyle could mean taking fewer pills.

Should I make an appointment with a registered dietitian?

Even though doctors understand the importance of a healthy diet, they often don’t have time to provide complete dietary counseling. If you have more questions than your doctor has time to answer, ask for a referral to a registered dietitian.

Many medical practices now include registered dietitians. Medicare and private insurers often cover nutrition consultations.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Rinku Chatterjee, MD on June 28, 2012

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