Retirees discover the importance of ‘sunshine’ vitamin

October 2013

TAKING vitamin D supplements and eating more oily fish are just two of the ways older people’s health can be boosted, retirement village residents heard yesterday.

Sophie Leicester, of Nutrition in Sheffield, and Ruth Ker, who has a masters degree in nutrition, visited Middleton Hall Retirement Village, near Darlington, to deliver a food and health workshop to residents.

Sophie said many older people didn’t realise they could be deficient in vitamin D, levels of which are boosted by exposure to sunshine.

“As we get older our bodies find it more difficult to convert sunshine into vitamin D plus older people can tend to cover up or not go out in the sun enough,” she said.

“Research shows it can be associated with conditions from diabetes and heart disease to osteoporosis, depression and inflammatory diseases.

“We talked about the importance of vitamin D and how the NHS recommends that people over 65 should take a vitamin D supplement every day.”

The event was part of Middleton Hall’s Living Well philosophy, which encourages residents to enjoy maximum health and wellbeing.

As well as vitamin D, residents heard how eating more oily fish and vegetable proteins, such as legumes and beans, would boost their health as well as hearing about foods which lower cholesterol.

Staff also received nutritional one-on-one sessions to help improve their health and wellbeing.

“It’s not about living off mung beans or being skinny,” said Sophie. “If you’re older, it’s better to be at the higher end of the healthy range than the lower end so if you get ill you have a bit of a buffer.”