The Most Important Nutrients for Aging Adults

March 13, 2023

Healthy eating is an important lifestyle habit no matter your age. But for seniors especially, a balanced diet with proper nutrition is essential.

Through the aging process, our bodies can experience changes that affect our overall dietary needs – and everyone’s needs are different. However, getting the right nutrients can help older adults maintain their health and reduce their risk for age-related illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis.

As you get older in life, strive to include a variety of foods in your diet that are rich in the following nutrients so you can live life, better.


Potassium is an essential nutrient for maintaining healthy blood pressure, as well as heart, nerve, muscle, and kidney function. As we age, our bodies become less efficient at absorbing potassium, which can lead to deficiencies.

Good Sources of Potassium

  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Carrot juice
  • Cream of tartar
  • Fish
  • Prune juice
  • Soybeans
  • Sweet potatoes
  • White potatoes
  • Yogurt


Our bodies begin to lose bone density when we get older, which can lead to osteoporosis and an increased risk of fractures. That’s why a diet rich in calcium is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth. Your body also uses calcium to help regulate heart rhythm, muscle function, nerve conduction, and blood clotting.

Good Sources of Calcium

  • Bok choi
  • Broccoli
  • Cheese
  • Collard greens
  • Edamame beans
  • Kale
  • Milk

Vitamin D

Fun fact: our bodies can produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, but it’s important to include it in your diet as well. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and maintain bone health. It’s also important for a healthy immune system.

Good Sources of Vitamin D

  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Fortified beverages
  • Mushrooms

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is important for creating red blood cells and supporting healthy brain and nerve function. Absorption of vitamin B12 usually decreases with age, so older adults may need to fortify their diet with extra sources of this nutrient.

Good Sources of Vitamin B12

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Clams
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Organ meats

Dietary Fiber

Fiber promotes gut health and prevents constipation by helping food move through the digestive tract. It can also help lower cholesterol levels, regulate blood sugar, and reduce the risks of heart disease and colorectal cancer. Unfortunately, about 94% of adults don’t get enough fiber in their diet.

Good Sources of Dietary Fiber

  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Barley
  • Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Brown rice
  • Chia seeds
  • Collard greens
  • Green peas
  • Quinoa
  • Raspberries
  • Whole-grain bread


Muscle mass naturally decreases with age. With a diet insufficient in protein, this muscle loss can amplify into physical weakness, mobility issues, and a higher risk of falls.

Good Sources of Protein

  • Almonds
  • Beans
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Chickpeas
  • Cottage cheese
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Greek yogurt
  • Green peas
  • Hemp seeds
  • Lentils
  • Tofu


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