Nutrition for seniors tends to change as we age and our lifestyles start to slow down. In order to live a fully vibrant life it is really important to keep track of what we need to stay energized and feeling our best.
A healthy diet fortifies our immune system and feeds our brain. We also know that a poor diet lacking in nutrition, vitamins and minerals can have long lasting negative effects on our mental, emotional, and physical health. We want to give ourselves the best possible tools to continue enjoying our lives.
Nutrition for seniors is very similar to proper nutrition at any age, with a few additional considerations.
Have you noticed that as your parents (or yourself) are getting older they don’t need to eat as much to feel full? This is common but if we are eating less, it is still important to ensure we are getting the required nutrition, vitamins and minerals to stay healthy.
The staff at Vibrant Life includes nutritionists and a wonderful kitchen crew at each facility. Not only do we concentrate on our residents’ nutrition, but we want them to enjoy food and life. We can make favorite dishes, family recipes, and serve happy memories in our dining rooms.
Age-related changes can affect how your body processes food, which influences your dietary needs and affects your appetite. Certain medications can also play a role. The following is a list of the main things to consider for proper nutrition for seniors.
Metabolism and Appetite
Yep, everything tends to slow down as we age. This isn’t a bad thing, it is a natural process. However, sometimes medication or our mental health can affect our appetite as well.
As our metabolism slows our digestive system also changes. This can effect our appetite and in some cases our likes and dislikes may change when it comes to certain foods.
Medications can cause side effects such as a lack of appetite or stomach upset, which can lead to poor nutrition. It is really important to be aware of which medications may be affecting you this way. If you have any concerns, talk to you doctors.
Your Emotional Health
Seniors who feel depressed or lonely often lose interest in eating. On the other hand, emotional issues may cause some people to eat more and gain unwanted pounds. It is really important that loved ones recognize the signs of either under or over eating and talk with the seniors in their lives and their doctors. Staying on top of nutrition health will go a long way to ensuring a healthy and enjoyable life.
Nutrition for Seniors: Tips for a Healthy Diet
As you make food choices to improve your nutrition, keep the following in mind:
- Stay hydrated. It is important to drink a lot of water and non-caffeinated beverages. Eating foods with high water content (like soups, cucumbers, grapes, and melons) is also very beneficial.
- Fiber. Your daily diet should include a variety of high-fiber foods, such as raw fruits and vegetables and whole grains. These foods help with constipation and provide essential vitamins, minerals,and nutrients that important for healthy aging.
- Healthy fats. Choose healthy fats found in seeds, nuts, avocados, fatty fish, and vegetable oils. Try to avoid saturated fats and trans fats.
- Protein. Lean protein like beans, eggs, chicken and fish, lean meats, and nuts provide us with energy.
- Whole grains. Brown rice, whole grain cereals, and whole wheat bread help your digestion and protect your heart.
- Calcium. Calcium is our friend in protecting our bones. The best source of calcium-rich foods are low-fat dairy products. Often, seniors are advised to take a calcium supplement (usually paired with vitamin D) to help you get the additional what you need.
- B12. As we age our bodies’ ability to absorb B12 decreases. Therefore it is really important that we include foods like cereals, that are fortified with vitamin B12. Getting more through diet and supplements will ensure that you meet your requirements.
Note: B12 is a nutrient that helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Vitamin B12 also helps prevent a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia that makes people tired and weak. For more information visit The National Institutes of Health.
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