Older male is bluet jacket looking at bottles of vitamins
Submitted by Henry (Tao-En) Lee, Registered Dietitian, Clinical Dietitian, Queen’s Park Care Centre

When our body is not working properly, we have a harder time using the vitamins and minerals from our food. Always consult with your doctor or dietitian to learn if vitamin or mineral supplements are right for you before you take them.

Vitamins and minerals are nutrients found in foods that are essential to keep our body working properly. We only need a small amount of them and for most people, we eat all what we need from a balanced diet. The new Canada’s Food Guide provides recommendations for how to eat enough nutritious foods to meet your nutrient needs.

Many seniors live with chronic diseases such as heart disease, kidney failure and diabetes. When our body is not working properly, we have a harder time using the vitamins and minerals from our food. As well, when we grow older, our body may become less efficient absorbing some nutrients, like vitamin B12. For some seniors, getting enough vitamin D and calcium can be difficult because a smaller appetite or limited income can make it difficult to consume enough of these important nutrients. These are some of the reasons why your doctor or dietitian may have prescribed you some vitamins or mineral supplements.

Remember, your health care team recommended these supplements to add onto what you eat; they are not meant to replace healthy eating. There are many more nutrients found naturally in a balanced diet that are not contained in the supplements.

Consult with your doctor or dietitian to learn if vitamin or mineral supplements are right for you. They will make personalized recommendations based on a comprehensive assessment of your health and diet.

For more information about important nutrients for seniors check out the Healthy Eating for Seniors handbook or speak to a dietitian at HealthLink BC by dialing 8-1-1.


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