Every one know now that years of faulty nutrition speeds up the process of ageing. Deficiencies of vitamins and minerals can have detrimental effects on the health of the elderly and all . Recent studies indicate that certain vitamins possess anti-oxidant properties and prevent oxidation process. These vitamins are A, E, C and B-carotene. They can by virtue of these properties delay the ageing process. They also prevent degeneration in blood vessels, heart joints and eye lens.
Among vitamins, the most important are vitamins A, B, C,D and E.
Vitamin A is essential for growth and vitality. It builds up resistance to respiratory and other infections and works mainly on the eyes, lungs, stomach and intestines. It prevents eye diseases and plays a vital role in nourishing the skin and hair.
Vitamins B group, the more important being Bl or thiamine, B2 or riboflavin, B3 or niacin or nicotinic acid, B6 or pyridoxine, B9 or folic acid, B12 and B5 or pantothenic acid. Known as antiberiberi
and anti-ageing vitamin, vitamin Bl plays an important role in the normal functioning of the nervous system. Vitamin B3 is vital for proper circulation, the healthy functioning of the nervous system and for proper protein and carbohydrate metabolism. Vitamin B6 helps in the absorption of fats and proteins,
prevents nervous and skin disorders and protects against degenerative diseases. Vitamin B9, along with vitamin B12, is necessary for the formation of red blood cells. Vitamin B5 stimulates the adrenal glands and increases the production of cortisone and adrenal hormones. Vitamin B12 is essential for the proper functioning of the central nervous system, the production and regeneration of red blood cells and proper utilisation of fat for body building. So some where vitamin B deficiency is the one of the cause of obesity , indigestion , hormonal disturbance etc.
Vitamin C is indispensable for normal growth and the maintenance of practically all the body tissues, especially those of the joints, bones, teeth and gums. It protects against infections and acts as a general antibiotic.
Vitamin D is necessary for proper bones and teeth formation and for the healthy functioning of the thyroid gland.
Vitamin E helps prevent atherosclerosis, strokes and high blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart attacks. Studies have shown that Vitamin E along with selenium can effectively block cancer. Those who have low selenium and Vitamin E in the blood are more prone to develop cancer.
Minerals are vital to health. They are essential for regulating and building the trillions of living cells which
make up the body. The more important mineral elements needed by the body are calcium, phosphorous, iron, sulphur, magnesium, sodium, potassium chlorine and iodine.
We all know about the importance of calcium and iron lets talk about other minerals and there importance .
The main purpose of sulphur is to dissolve waste minerals. It helps to eject some of the waste and poisons from the system. It helps keep the skin clear of blemishes and makes hair glossy. Magnesium is cool, alkaline, refreshing and sleep-promoting. It assists in the functioning of the nervous system and the composition of nerve and muscle cells. It aids in digestion and in the elimination of waste from the system. Sodium is needed for digestion, blood purification and for the manufacture of gland hormones. It is a necessary constituent of gastric juices and is of utmost importance in neutralizing acidity in the body.
Potassium regulates the normal contraction and relaxation of all muscles. It builds up new tissues, flesh, bones andmuscles. It also keeps the joints and arteries flexible.Chlorine is necessary for the formation of natural hydrochloric acid in the stomach and also for the manufacture of glandular hormone secretions. It prevents the building of excessive fat and auto-intoxication. Iodine is essential for the formation of thyroxin — the thyroid hormone which regulates much physical and mental activity. It regulates the rate of metabolism, energy production and body weight and helps prevent rough and wrinkled skin.
It has been found that calcium is deficient in the modern diet, and particularly so, in the diet of older people. One of the many purposes of calcium in nutrition is to transport nerve impulses. When it is in short supply, nerves and muscles are tense, leading to irritability and fatigue. A deficiency of this mineral can also cause cramps. Which often appear in old people, usually in the leg muscles or feet. Insomnia, which is quite common in old age, can be dispelled by the use of calcium, as it relaxes muscles and nerves. Three calcium tablets, taken with a glass of warm milk at bed time, will usually bring sound, refreshing sleep to many older people who do not sleep well. The use of calcium has also been found beneficial in relieving pain. It can be taken in tablet form by older people who are troubled with headache, digestive disorders and arthritis. Other diseases which can be treated by this mineral are menopausal disorders and irritability of nerves and muscles.
Another mineral which is of great importance in old age is iodine. The chief storehouse of iodine in the body is thyroid gland. The essential thyroxine secreted by this gland is made by the circulating iodine. In the body, iodine is converted from the foods rich in this mineral. Thyroxine is a wonder chemical which controls the basic metabolism and oxygen consumption of tissues. It regulates the rate of energy production and body weight and promotes proper growth. It improves mental alacrity and promotes healthy hair, nails, skin and teeth. Deficiency of iodine can lead to myxodema, which is charecterised by slower rate of metabolism, thickening of the skin, loss of hair, general physical and mental sluggishness and enlarged thyroid gland. Dietary lack may lead to anaemia, fatigue, lethargy, loss of interest in sex, slowed pulse, low blood pressure and a tendency towards obesity. The best dietary sources of iodine are kelp and other seaweeds. Other good sources are turnip greens, garlic, water cress, pineapples, pears, citrus fruits, egg yolks, seafoods and fish liver oils.