From the age of 60, your par­ents may need ex­tra nu­tri­tion. Here’s what could help their health.

Simply Her (Singapore) - - Parents 101 - BY SASHA GON­ZA­LES

VITAMIN A This is an es­sen­tial vitamin for good vi­sion. It also pro­motes the growth of healthy cells and tis­sues.

Rec­om­mended daily in­take: 700mcg for women and 900mcg for men.

B VI­TA­MINS Folic acid (also called fo­late or vitamin B9), vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 are all es­sen­tial for proper brain func­tion.

Folic acid pro­tects against heart disease too, while vitamin B6 helps to main­tain a healthy ner­vous sys­tem.

A vitamin B12 de­fi­ciency can cause ir­re­versible nerve dam­age, and se­niors typ­i­cally don’t have enough of the vitamin. They have lower lev­els of stom­ach acid, which is needed to ab­sorb vitamin B12 from food – so they need a daily sup­ple­ment.

Rec­om­mended daily in­take: 400mcg of folic acid; 1.5mg of vitamin B6 for women and 1.7mg for men; 2.4mcg of vitamin B12. CAL­CIUM, VITAMIN D & MAG­NE­SIUM Cal­cium helps pre­vent brit­tle bone disease or os­teo­poro­sis, and is es­sen­tial for mus­cle func­tion and nor­mal blood clot­ting. Take vitamin D and cal­cium to­gether, be­cause vitamin D helps the body to ab­sorb cal­cium bet­ter. It also pro­tects against many can­cers, in­clud­ing those of the breast, prostate and colon.

While you can get your daily dose of vitamin D through sun ex­po­sure, se­niors tend to get less sun than younger peo­ple. The body’s abil­ity to ab­sorb cal­cium also de­clines with age, so older in­di­vid­u­als may need th­ese sup­ple­ments.

Mag­ne­sium should be taken with cal­cium as well, to off­set the lat­ter’s con­sti­pat­ing ef­fect. But make sure your par­ents do not over­dose on cal­cium – it can cause cal­ci­fi­ca­tion or har­den­ing of soft tis­sues in the kid­neys, lungs and heart. Rec­om­mended daily in­take: 1,000iu of vitamin D; 500mg of

cal­cium; 250mg of mag­ne­sium. Any­thing less than 800iu of vitamin D daily won’t help to pre­vent bone loss in the el­derly.

ZINC This min­eral helps to main­tain a healthy im­mune sys­tem, but most se­niors don’t get enough of it through their diet. Signs of de­fi­ciency in­clude a poor ap­petite, slow wound heal­ing, bron­chi­tis and pneu­mo­nia. In men, zinc is es­pe­cially im­por­tant for prostate health. Rec­om­mended daily in­take: 8mg for women and 11mg for men. OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) re­duce in­flam­ma­tion, which plays an im­por­tant role in the de­vel­op­ment of nearly all dis­eases. They are also im­por­tant for heart, brain and joint health and func­tion.

Go for high-qual­ity omega-3 cap­sules or liq­uid. Th­ese may be more costly, but if you stint on this sup­ple­ment, you may be get­ting a low-grade prod­uct. Pu­ri­fied fish oils have higher con­cen­tra­tions of EPA and DHA, so Mum and Dad won’t have to con­sume so many cap­sules. Rec­om­mended daily in­take: 1,000mg of EPA and 500mg of DHA.

COEN­ZYME Q10 Use­ful for car­dio­vas­cu­lar health, the nu­tri­ent may also help lower blood pres­sure with con­tin­ued use, as it strength­ens the heart and pulse. Rec­om­mended daily in­take: 200mg.

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