How to Stay Healthy as You Age

stay healthy as you age

October 24, 2018   11 Comments

I like to face reality and that means not hiding from the fact that I am aging.

My favorite joke about getting older came from a friend who had recently injured herself by doing too much. She said, “DAMAGE!” or DAMN AGE.

You can’t fight it but you can prepare. Last year, I went for a blood test that revealed that I had high cholesterol. Was it a concern? Yes, because as you get older your blood vessels and arteries become stiffer and your heart has to work harder to pump blood.

You don’t want bad cholesterol making things worse and clogging your arteries. I had to revamp my diet and do a no sugar challenge for two weeks. I cut down on added sugar since I did my challenge (but I still have a little).

I have turned things around quiet a bit since my diagnosis and things are going well!

My first piece of advice for those of us who are starting to feel our age is to get a really good doctor who is willing to spend time to talk with you about your challenges. Sometimes your health problems are the result of the normal aging process (such as losing your ability to read small labels) and sometimes there is something more going on.

All the advice for young people is the same for older people. Sleep, eat healthy foods, get regular exercise, and spend time with people (and/or dogs) keeps you feeling good.

In addition it is good to take a look at whether or not you might need supplements. Again, when I went to my doctor, I did a test that determined that I was low on Vitamin D as well as B vitamins.

Vitamin D is from sunlight but I live in place with long dark winters. Some days, I run to the car in my overcoat and don’t make it outside. Even when I am outside my skin is not showing because it would freeze off.

Here is a photo of me in the winter:

Do you think I could use some synthetic Vitamin D?

These are the common supplements that your doctor will talk with you about:

  • Calcium (to keep bones strong)
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B12 (Older people have trouble absorbing it from foods, so you may need fortified cereals or a supplement.)
  • Vitamin B6 (It keeps your red blood cells strong to carry oxygen throughout your body.)

Experts agree that the ideal way to get the nutrients you need to stay healthy is from food.

For example, milk, vegetable, fruit and bean products are the most important food sources of calcium.

But when it comes to taking calcium, some people may not find it practical or possible to meet the recommended daily intake (RDI) from diet alone. For adults, the RDI is 1,000 milligrams (mg) daily, which rises to 1,200 mg per day for women over age 50 and men over age 70.

You need Vitamin D to absorb calcium and adding calcium supplements to your diet can be tricky. I tried adding calcium and one point and couldn’t poop for days. Sad - I know.

I would not suggest taking any one type of supplement until you meet with your doctor. We all have different needs and different diets and it is impossible for me to advise everyone who reads this about what they need as they get older.

Hopefully, your wonderful doctor will come up with a plan that makes sense based on YOU.

What has changed as you have aged? Have you added supplements? What have you found is keeping you feeling young?

Other posts you might like:


I Have High Cholesterol

Got High Cholesterol? So Do I

Before Christmas I took a blood test. It revealed that I had high cholesterol and not the good kind.


No Sugar Challenge 2

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11 Comments:

I am 66 and one benefit from a little stiffer arteries for me is that my distant eye sight keeps improving a little each year. My eye doctor says it sometimes happens to nearsighted people. Maybe by the time I'm 80 I won't need glasses! 😂 I take a calcium supplement in capsule form (no tablets) that has vitamin D3 and magnesium (helps with the pooping) along with other vitamins and I think we've just scratched the surface on how bad sugar and processed foods/ hydrogenated fats can be for us. I read an article yesterday about liver disease and how sugar and bad fats have a big impact on it. I'm hoping to improve my health as I age because I once was the home cook that baked all those white flour/sugar "goodies" and breads so I have some catching up to do.

on October 25, 2018

Thank you for bringing our attention to these matters, Lisa. I have been studying this problem for about 20 years (as in, since I was 50) and I think frequently the research reminds us that one of the most important activities for health is investing in our friendships, no matter what else we are doing (like eating pumpkins and kale. ). I love this assignment!!!

on October 25, 2018

Lisa,

I am 53 and also take B12 and Vit. D. I should take Calcium, too, but like you it leaves me constipated. My cholesterol was also climbing and through a diet of minimally processed foods and regular exercise I was able to lower my total cholesterol 40 points! Unfortunately, my family history of high cholesterol coupled with my dad having a stroke, led to my doctor and I deciding that a low dose of a medication for cholesterol was in order. I try to eat lots of greens and beans to help my calcium. Walking, low impact cardio, and weight training are what my body likes for exercise. If I've learned anything, it's that I need to listen to my body!

on October 25, 2018

I thought I had read recently that a new study said that supplemental Vitamin D wasn't helpful, at least for bone health. Here's an article from the NY Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/11/well/live/vitamin-d-supplements-dont-lead-to-stronger-bones.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fhealth&action=click&contentCollection=health&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=54&pgtype=sectionfront

I've been leery of supplements for years, because one or another of them will become the focus of media coverage, doctors will recommend it, and then research shows it's basically useless. I did take a baby aspirin for many years on my doctor's advice, and now researchers are saying that's not helpful, except for a certain narrow group of people (which I'm not in, since my heart is fine so far).

on October 25, 2018

I am noticing that I needed to visit my doctor for stress-related headaches. That is new for me as a 53 year old!

on October 25, 2018

If you can find a copy of this month's "Nutrition Action Health Letter" published by Center for Science in the Public Interest, the cover story is called "Half-Baked News Bites." It explains how publications like the New York Times,Newsweek, etc., publish the results of "research" just from some kind of press release that either does not include all valuable info for knowing if the results are credible or if it even was an real study as opposed to just an observation. For example, The Atlantic reported in July that a new study "exonerates dairy fats as a cause of early death, even as low-fat products continue to be misperceived as healthier." CSPI researchers evaluated that same analysis and their "bottom line" was that replacing saturated fats (like those in dairy and meat) with unsaturated fats (like those in nuts, fatty fish, and most oils) lowers the risk of heart disease. It will be interesting what how they mention that Vitamin D article mentioned in the above post. The main point is not to believe everything you read until you can find out if it is a valid study which has been published in a reputable journal (as opposed to info from a press release) and has been duplicated by other researchers.

on October 25, 2018

Yes, I take a small calcium/magnesium/Vit D supplement daily. I decided on the dosage after keeping track of my food intake for 3 days and averaging how much calcium I was getting from food. I also take an additional 2,000 IUs of Vitamin D if I am not outside in the sun. My doctor had checked my D and it was low without the supplement. Additionally, I take an Omega 3 supplement if I didn't eat fatty fish in the last 3 1/2 days. I also take Vitamin C (recommended by eye doctor) and Vitamin K2 for stronger bones. Anytime I have a lot of a particular vitamin or mineral in my diet (extra cup of hot cocoa, for example) I reduce the amount of that supplement for that day.

on October 25, 2018

I'm 64 years old. I take vitamin D3 as I had a low D reading even though I am outside walking daily. I should be taking a calcium supplement but it constipates me, will try a capsule. Will try calcium in a capsule with D & magnesium. I don't own a car so I walk almost every where, I also do strength training and go to the gym.

on October 25, 2018

Lisa, it is so nice to read an article about aging that actually acknowledges that we are aging and that it is not a horrible thing!
Thank you! #48&happy&healthy

on October 25, 2018

If you take magnesium with your calcium, you won’t find it to be constipating. My doctor also has me taking a vitamin D with it for my bones.

on October 26, 2018

At 58, I recently found out I was osteoporosic. All my doctors wanted me to go on drugs for it, most with questionable side effects. I found a natural product called AlgeaCal that not only contains calcium but other nutrients that building new bones need. They have a wonderful supportive community on Facebook. It is possible to build back bone. Many share their stories. It's worth looking into.

on October 29, 2018


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