Reviewed by Louise Chang on May 04, 2012
Cheryl Williams, RDLD, Clinical Nutritionist, Emory Heart Center. Michael Smith, MD, WebMD chief medical editor. Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, WebMD nutrition director.
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Cheryl Williams, RDLD, Clinical Nutritionist: Baby boomers make up a large portion of my patient population and what I have noticed is a lot of them are healthier and living longer than their parents, but they still face health risks associated with aging that can decrease their life-span and increase their risk for chronic disease.
Narrator: As we age our bodies become less efficient at absorbing crucial nutrients and so it's important to stay on top getting enough of the right vitamins and minerals.
Cheryl Williams, RDLD, Clinical Nutritionist: I really try not to focus on what clients can't eat. I really try to focus more on the nutritional value of healthy foods and the fact that it can promote your health and that it can prevent disease.
Narrator: Eating healthy foods like whole grains, vegetables and fruit, low or non-fat dairy products and lean meats and fish can make a huge difference in your quality of life … But eating those balanced foods at regular intervals is critical…
Cheryl Williams, RDLD, Clinical Nutritionist: Skipping meals can decrease your metabolism, it can cause unstable blood-sugar levels, which can increase your risk of type-2 diabetes and it also causes over-eating later on in the day…
Narrator: A good way to make sure you get all the nutrients you need is to take a daily multi-vitamin along with one of those meals. People over 50 should take special care that they are getting enough B-12 — found naturally in meats, fish, eggs and dairy products:
Michael Smith, MD: That one in particular is one that we absorb less well when we get older. And if we're deficient in B-12 it increases the likelihood of anemia as well as problems with nerve function.
Narrator: Calcium and vitamin D are also critical nutrients to take in as we age that help us maintain proper bone strength. And Omega 3 fatty acids, found in foods like walnuts and salmon, have been shown to aid the body in numerous ways—like increasing heart health and lowering the risk of stroke. Making sure you get the proper nutrients may not turn back the clock, but it can help wind it up again…for WebMD, I'm Damon Meharg.