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Your Body as a Temple: Caring for Yourself as a Senior

Paul teaches us in 1 Corinthians 6:19 that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, whom God gave all believers. He goes on to remind us that we were bought at a price and to honor God with our bodies.

One of the best ways we can serve God is by taking care of ourselves physically so that we can live to our fullest each day. March is National Nutrition Month and the perfect chance to start conversations with your doctor about diets and nutrition levels.

Discovering vitamins and minerals you are deficient in gives you and your caregivers the knowledge you need to create a balanced diet that will improve your overall health.

Here are some of the most common deficiencies to look out for.

Calcium and Vitamin D

Although advertising campaigns for calcium supplements tend to focus on women, this mineral is just as vital for men. In addition to helping prevent osteoporosis, calcium helps the heart, muscles, nerves and skin. Vitamin D is an essential ingredient for the body to absorb calcium, and it boosts your immune system and combats diseases.

Breakfast is a great way to start strengthening your bones because milk, yogurt, cereals and orange juice are often fortified with these nutrients. Adding a dark green vegetable such as spinach to a cheesy omelet is another way to increase your daily intake naturally.

Magnesium

Magnesium deficiency has been linked to heart disease, osteoporosis and type 2 diabetes. However, simple — and often tasty — alterations to your diet can help you achieve normal levels of this key mineral.

Servings of whole grains, nuts, dark chocolate and leafy, green vegetables contain valuable amounts and are easy to add to your daily menu through meals and snacks such as salads augmented with nuts, bowls of oatmeal, dark chocolate drizzled over fruit or granola bars.

Iodine

Iodine is crucial to good health, but compared to other nutrients, it can be difficult to add to your diet due to the fact it only occurs naturally in a few types of food. This once caused iodine to be a common deficiency until the inclusion of iodized salt to diets greatly reduced this occurrence in most people.

Individuals on low-sodium diets and vegetarian diets may still fail to reach the needed daily intake. Adding yogurt, dried prunes, eggs and certain types of seaweed and seafood to recipes ensure you maintain proper iodine levels in your system.

Fiber

Eating fiber-rich foods can offer seniors a host of benefits such as helping them feel fuller longer between meals, improving regularity, controlling glucose levels and lowering cholesterol.

When beginning to add roughage to your diet, speak with your doctor and start slowly so that your body can adapt to the change.

Many of the foods high in fiber such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and beans are already mainstays of a healthy diet and can be found in a wide variety of delicious meal and snack ideas.