Eating the right food is important as you age. Younger people can typically ignore their body’s nutritional needs without suffering immediate consequence. Older adults don’t have this flexibility because their body requires adequate and timely nutritional supplies.
In this article, we discuss some tips to maintain a healthy nutrition and weight in seniors.
1. Regular Fluid Intake
Water is an essential food nutrient! If you are like most people, you drink water when thirsty or after eating certain foods. You need to drink more fluid to stay hydrated. Failure to do so can lead to dehydration which has many negative consequences.
Does pure water taste bad in your mouth? You can try out water in other forms.
2. Eat Nutrient-rich Foods
Your calorie needs decreases with age. However, your body’s nutrient needs remain the same or increases due to physiological changes. Your diet should consist of a variety of nutrient providing foods. Foods rich in vitamins, minerals and, bodybuilding protein are good choices.
More of these foods should be introduced into your diet:
Fruits and vegetables
Nuts and seeds
3. Special Nutritional Needs
It is possible to be on a balanced diet and still be malnourished. As a senior, you may not absorb as much nutrient that you need from your diet. Moreover, older adults may be on medication which prevents proper absorption or depletes your body’s nutritional stores.
Some common nutritional deficits in senior’s due to metabolism or lifestyle choices include:
This vitamin aids your bone and brain health. Older adults need more vitamin D because of their limited exposure to sunlight. Fortified cereals, seafood, and sun exposure are good sources of Vitamin D.
Vegans should especially watch out for Vitamin B12 deficiency because it is only found in animal sources. Your food should contain ample amount of B12 sources such as lean meat and seafood. You may need to consult your doctor about B12 supplement if your lifestyle choice or medical condition mandates it.
Fiber-rich foods are great for digestive health. They can also reduce the risk of heart disease. Don’t like fiber sources such as vegetables and whole-grain products? Try other sources such as fruits, legumes, and fortified foods.
4. Reduce Fats, Cholesterol and Salt Intake
We have been discussing what seniors should be eating, but what about what to avoid? Trans fat and cholesterol are bad for your heart health. They clog up blood vessels close to the heart and increase the risk of heart diseases. Salt can cause high blood pressure in seniors. You should limit the consumption of foods containing salt or sodium and its derivatives.
5. Eat and Socialize
Loneliness can induce stress and anxiety which are linked to a variety of health problems. Dine with friends and family whenever they are present.! A lively and happy mood is a recipe for good overall health.
6. Your Weight Says a Lot
No, this isn’t about how other people perceive your size (slim, normal or overweight)., Although that is important, we are concerned about the health consequences of your weight.
If your eating habits fit the nutritional tips recommended above, you may already have a weight in the healthy range. But even if you are following nutritional guidelines, other factors such as physical activity and medical conditions can have more influence on your body weight.
You can know how healthy your weight is by determining your BMI and waist circumference.
A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal while waist circumference of below 35 and 40 are normal for women and men respectively.
The following can help you keep your weight in check:
Healthy meal plan
Moderate portion size
A healthy weight can help prevent chronic disease such as diabetes while also improving the body’s digestive and nutritional health.
Healthy nutrition starts with the right information. It can help keep diseases at bay if implemented consistently and correctly. If you are concerned about your loved one’s nutritional habits or health status, make sure to speak with a doctor or dietician so you can develop a nutritional or weight loss plan together! That way, everyone including your caregiver can work towards those health goals hand-in-hand.