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Why Is Vitamin C Important for Older Adults?

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Vitamin C is commonly found in citrus fruits, and it boosts overall health. It is important for seniors to get sufficient quantities of this essential vitamin. Here are a few merits of vitamin C for aging adults.

Enhances Vision

Vitamin C lowers the risk of cataracts, a primary cause of vision loss. With age, eye tissues break down and adhere together, clouding the lens and hindering light from entering the eyes. Cataracts cause blurred vision, light halos, faded colors, and difficulty reading, recognizing faces, and seeing at night. 

The essential vitamin is normally present in eye fluid, preventing lens degeneration. However, over time, the nutrient concentration dwindles. By eating foods rich in vitamin C, the risk of lens clouding reduces. A 2016 UK study found that diets high in vitamin C avert cataracts by 20 to 33 percent.

There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional elderly care. Fort Myers families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place.

Boosts Cognitive Health

In 2011, Swedish researchers at Lund University found that vitamin C dissolves the toxic clumps that cause Alzheimer’s disease. When Alzheimer’s develops, brain proteins called plaques and tangles cluster around nerve cells, hampering communication and killing the neurons. Alzheimer’s disease impacts the brain regions involved with learning and memory. By increasing vitamin C intake, plaques and tangles dissipate, enhancing mental clarity. 

Additionally, vitamin C aids oxygen utilization. Restricted oxygen, known as oxidative stress, contributes to plaque formation. 

Prevents Cardiovascular Disease

In 2015, a Danish study found that people with high levels of vitamin C had a lower risk of heart disease. The research, conducted at the University of Copenhagen, involved roughly 100,000 subjects. The scientists attributed their discovery to a high intake of fruits and vegetables.

Vitamin C safeguards the heart as an antioxidant, a compound with extra electrons. It controls free radicals, which are molecules that rob healthy cells of their electrons. When these vandalized cells come in contact with vitamin C, it restores their missing electrons.

Additionally, the vitamin fortifies blood vessels that feed heart tissue. Resilient arteries protect against high blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease.

Lowers Stroke Risk

A stroke occurs when a brain artery is blocked or weakened to the point of rupture. Consequently, brain cells die from lack of oxygen and nutrients. Strokes are often caused by arterial narrowing from cholesterol buildup, a condition called atherosclerosis.

Vitamin C deficiency contributes to atherosclerosis and stroke. Conversely, an optimal level promotes healthy arteries. A 2008 study by the University of Cambridge found that a high level of vitamin C reduced stroke risk by up to 42 percent.

Stroke is a major health concern among older adults. If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a Fort Myers home care agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services.

Promotes Oral Health

Seniors are prone to gum disease. When bacteria gain a foothold in the mouth, the germs inflame gum tissue and lead to a condition termed gingivitis. Symptoms include gum swelling, redness, bleeding, and recession.

Additionally, harmful oral microbes can travel to the heart and lungs, triggering heart attacks and pneumonia. If bacteria stick to arterial walls, they can block blood flow and lead to a stroke. 

Along with diligent dental care, vitamin C protects against gingivitis. The nutrient strengthens gums by producing collagen, a protein vital for tissue health.

Daily Vitamin C Requirement

The recommended daily amount of vitamin C is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men. Regularly consuming fresh produce can help your loved one meet his or her daily intake.

If your loved one doesn’t eat well, consider adding supplements to his or her diet. Before considering any supplements, consult your loved one’s physician because vitamin C can alter the effects of some medications.

Foods Rich in Vitamin C

Since the body doesn’t make or store vitamin C, it needs to be constantly replenished. Delicious sources of vitamin C include oranges, tomatoes, sweet peppers, strawberries, cantaloupe, papaya, sweet potatoes, and broccoli. Encourage your loved one to eat five or more daily servings of these vitamin C-rich foods. 

Some seniors need help switching to nutrient-dense foods. Whether your elderly loved one needs part-time assistance with basic household chores or you need a break from your caregiving duties, the Fort Myers respite care experts at Home Care Assistance are here to help. All of our respite care services are backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we never ask our clients to sign long-term contracts. To learn about our high-quality in-home care plans, give us a call at 239.449.4701 today.