Photo by Alex Harvey
Originally Posted On: Healthy Food Guide for Aging Seniors | The Retreat at Alameda (retreatseniorliving.com)
Did you know that about 65 percent of older adults face malnourishment?
It’s not uncommon for seniors to neglect their nutrition as they get older. Sometimes, not having many people to cook for can make seniors less motivated to care about what they eat.
If you’re worried about your nutrition or a senior family member, you came to the right place.
Read on to learn how to choose the right foods for seniors.
Why It Matters to Eat Healthy as You Age?
Although everyone knows the importance of having a healthy diet, it’s essential to eat well as you age. For seniors, eating healthy is especially important to keep their bodies and minds sharp longer.
Even if they’ve had a poor diet their entire life, it’s never too late to change their eating habits.
Having a healthy diet as a senior can help you stay strong and live longer. Eating a healthy diet can help prevent several illnesses and conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and more.
Those who already have diabetes, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease can help manage their symptoms by having a healthy diet.
Aside from taking care of their bodies, seniors also need to take care of their minds. Eating the right foods can help keep their mind sharp. Eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fish, nuts, and leafy veggies can help combat memory loss.
Eating these foods will not only help with your memory, but it can also keep you feeling more aware as you age.
Let’s not forget that eating well can help you feel better overall. With a balanced diet, you will feel more energized, alert, and happier overall.
Dietary Needs to Keep in Mind as You Age
As you age, you become aware that you cannot eat as you used to. People quickly begin to notice that if they add an extra helping of pasta too often, their pants will start to get a bit tighter. It’s important to keep these things in mind when creating a balanced diet plan for seniors.
Did you know your metabolism will slow down 5% every decade of your life past the age of 40?
As we age, our metabolism slows down, and people tend to become a lot less active. With a slower metabolism and lower activity levels, people can quickly start to put on a few pounds.
Having a healthy diet after 40 is key to maintain healthy body weight.
Although people might not think about this, you lose sensitivity to salt and other bitter tastes as you get older. This is why some people suddenly start to add more salt to their food.
Because adding too much salt can lead to high blood pressure, it’s recommended seniors limit their intake. Rather than cooking with salt, it’s recommended you cook with herbs instead.
Medications and Illness
Seniors also need to take into account their medications and illnesses when it comes to their diet. Certain foods can harm their health if taking with some medications.
As we age, our digestive system slows down, generates less saliva, and stomach acid also slows down. As the digestive system slows down, older people find it more challenging to digest their food.
It also presents challenges, such as the body’s inability to absorb vitamins and minerals.
Creating a Balanced Diet for Seniors
If you want your senior loved ones or yourself to start eating a healthy diet, there are a few things you need to keep in mind to make it happen. Talking to your doctor about your specific dietary needs is a good place to start.
Keep these tips in mind when creating a senior-friendly diet.
Don’t Neglect Fruits and Vegetables
Although not everyone loves to eat their fruits and vegetables, seniors need to add plenty of these to their diets. As a rule of thumb, you should aim for 2-3 servings of fruits and vegetables a day or 2-3 cups.
Fruits, such as apples and bananas, make for great snacks you can eat on the go. You can also eat more vegetables by incorporating them into every meal.
To prevent bone density loss or osteoporosis, seniors need to take care of their bone health. By adding more calcium into their diets, seniors can prevent bone fractures.
Talk to your doctor to get a general idea of your calcium levels before taking any supplements.
To add more calcium into your diet, you should consume more milk, yogurt, cheese, broccoli, almonds, etc.
Although there’s a misconception that fat is bad for you, there are good fats and bad fats.
You don’t have to cut fat completely out of your diet; instead, you should focus on eating good fats. There are plenty of healthy fats out there, and you can find them in fatty fish, chia seeds, full-fat yogurt, nuts, avocado, and dark chocolate.
Eating plenty of omega-3 fats is also great for seniors because it improves mood and overall brain function.
It’s so important that as you age, you consume enough high-quality protein to keep your body and mind strong. Not only will protein keep your muscles strong, but it can also help improve your mood, fight depression, reduce anxiety, and help with stress.
It’s important you stay clear of processed proteins, such as salami, bacon, hot dogs, etc.
Eat the Right Carbs
When it comes to carbs, you must choose the right carbs to keep you fully energized. Seniors should focus on getting their carbs from natural sources, such as rice, sweet potatoes, and oatmeal.
Staying clear of processed carbs like cookies, cakes, potato chips, and others is essential for a balanced diet.
Importance of Eating the Right Foods for Seniors
Now that you know about the importance of the right foods for seniors, you can ensure you can take your nutrition to the next level.
To eat a more balanced diet, seniors should incorporate fruits and vegetables, calcium-rich foods, good fats, high-quality protein, and good carbs.
If you want your senior loved one to have the best nutrition, you should consider assisted living. Contact us today for more information.