Once you hit the age of 51, there are certain nutrients you should be focusing on. Thirteen essential vitamins and minerals help the body function properly and provide the keys the body needs to help fight or resist infection. These vitamins include A, C, D, E, and K. They also include several B vitamins.
Have you considered the benefits of gardening for dietary needs? You can focus your garden on vegetables that are high in these essential vitamins and minerals. Here are some of the vegetables to focus your attention on when buying seeds and seedlings that provide the nutrients your parents need.
There are more than a half dozen B vitamins. They include B6 and B12, biotin (B7), folic acid, niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), riboflavin (B2), and thiamin (B1). The role of these B vitamins is to help the body make energy from the foods eaten during a meal, use that energy throughout the body, and produce red blood cells.
Asparagus is a perennial that will return each year. It’s rich in antioxidants like vitamin C. It’s also high in folate. The spears that come up from the ground are good steamed, roasted, or grilled.
One medium potato provides about a third of the daily requirement of B6 and 70% of your daily requirement of vitamin C. They’re very easy to grow. Save potatoes you buy that have started sprouting, cut them up into cubes, and plant them in the ground.
Calcium is essential to bone and tooth strength. It helps the muscles expand and contract. It’s also used by the nervous system when sending messages from one area of the body to another.
Leafy green vegetables are a great source of calcium. Try growing a variety of greens to find your parents’ favorites. Collard greens, kale, spinach, and Swiss chard are all options.
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
Several vitamins are part of the antioxidant group. Vitamin C is one that most people are familiar with. It helps with collagen production, wound healing, and how the body metabolizes proteins.
If you want an easy-to-grow crop that is rich in vitamin C, grow tomatoes. There are a lot of varieties, which gives you the choice of growing tomatoes that make great pasta sauces or those that are best for salads. A medium tomato contains 28 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin C.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects the body from damage to cells from free radicals. Red peppers are one of the best vegetables to grow. A serving of raw red peppers contains about 13 percent of a person’s daily requirement.
Vitamin K is found in leafy greens like kale and spinach. It’s an important vitamin because it helps with blood clotting. If your parent is on a blood thinner, talk to their doctor to see if leafy greens are safe for your parents to eat.
If your parents do need help with their daily diet, look into home care services like meal preparation. Caregivers will come to their home and cook meals and snacks for them. You should also ask about home care companionship services so that your parents don’t eat alone.