The importance of integrating vitamin D in your diet

There are many nutrients essential to a senior’s diet, including vitamins that can help stave off disease and improve the immune system. Vitamin D may be one of the most important nutrients, as researchers have linked the nutrient to many positive health benefits that may be helpful to those living in retirement communities.

The Dietitians of Canada reports that vitamin D has been linked to a reduced risk of developing cancer and multiple sclerosis, and encourages seniors to incorporate several sources of this vitamin in their diets each day. Some foods are chock-full of the nutrient, such as salmon and orange juice, but the agency recommends that seniors over 50 take a supplement to ensure their intake is sufficient.

Low vitamin D may lead to high blood pressure
Research recently published in the British journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology found that trial participants who had high levels of vitamin D were less likely to have high blood pressure. Scientists studied the dietary habits of nearly 150,000 people and found that for every 10 per cent increase in vitamin D levels, people were 8 per cent less likely to have hypertension.

Elina Hypponen, a professor at the University of South Australia, explained in a journal release that these findings may be beneficial for those who are at risk for developing the condition.

“In view of the costs and side-effects associated with antihypertensive drugs, the potential to prevent or reduce blood pressure and therefore the risk of hypertension with vitamin D is very attractive,” Hypponen said, as quoted by HealthDay News.

Vitamin D may reduce risk of heart disease
A comprehensive study published in the BMJ examined how vitamin D levels affected adults between the ages of 50 and 79. Researchers looked through the findings of previous studies to gain a more inclusive view of how the vitamin may affect senior health. They found that while there was no direct connection between vitamin D and prevention of life threatening diseases, such as heart disease or cancer, those with high intakes of this nutrient were much healthier overall.

Researchers concluded that the connection between high vitamin D intake and healthier adults was “remarkably consistent.” They explained that there would need to be further trials to cement a stronger connection, but people should be sure to implement the vitamin in their diets.