Undoubtedly, the human body changes as individuals get older. As such, the nutritional needs of seniors are very different from those of children, teens and middle-aged individuals. These changes can greatly impact how the body processes food. This, in turn, affects the appetite and influences dietary needs.
Aging also causes changes in the digestive system. For example, lower amounts of the fluid needed to process food is produced as individuals age. This makes it more difficult for the body to absorb vitamins B6, vitamin B12, folic acid and other important nutrients.
As people get older, a healthy diet can boost energy levels, improve mental health and strengthen resistance against certain illnesses. Thankfully, eating healthily does not have to be rigid and self-sacrificing. Eating well should involve fresh, wholesome and tasty ingredients.
Health Benefits of Improving Your Diet
Get Stronger and Live longer
Healthy eating has a tremendous amount of benefits for seniors. It fights against dangerous toxins, helps to maintain a healthy weight and boosts immunity. Furthermore, eating wholesome foods lowers the risk of heart disease, cancer, type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, bone loss and stroke.
Improve Your Mood and Appearance
Eating wholesome meals will improve your physical appearance and boost your energy. This typically results in your self-esteem and mood being boosted. It is all interconnected; when you look and feel good on the outside, you usually feel happier on the inside.
Heightened Mental Aptitude
Individuals who regularly consume foods like fish, leafy green vegetables, fruits and nuts can improve their focus and lower their risk of becoming afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, green teas rich in antioxidant can also boost mental alertness and improve memory as you get older.
A Healthy Diet for Seniors
The key to maintaining a healthy diet is focusing on eating wholesome, minimally processed foods that strengthen your body during the aging process. Go for foods that are as close as possible to their natural form. The human body responds differently to certain foods, based on health factors like genetics. Therefore, it is important to find the healthy diet that works optimally for you. A doctor and a nutritionist can help.
Foods and Seniors Should Eat
Go for dark, leafy greens rich in antioxidant like such as broccoli, kale, and spinach. Be sure to add carrots, squash and other colorful vegetables to mix. Try eating or drinking 2-3 cups each day.
Berries and melons are remarkable choices of fruits for seniors. Try to get in 2 to 3 servings per day.
You do not have to eliminate carbohydrates, you just need to make smart choices. For more nutrients and fiber, choose whole grains.
Relatively healthy adults over 50 who are not prone to diabetes or kidney disease require approximately 1 to 1.5 grams for each 2.2 pounds of bodyweight.
Fat is tremendously dense in calories; therefore, it takes just a little to make you feel fuller for longer. Consuming small amounts of healthy fats can help in maintaining a healthy weight.
As you get older, it becomes even more important to maintain bone health. An adequate intake of calcium will help to prevent bone fractures and osteoporosis. Seniors require 1200 milligrams of calcium per day. Foods rich in calcium include cheese, milk and yogurt. Almonds, tofu, broccoli and kale are some of the non-dairy sources.
Vitamins and Minerals
After 50, less gastric acid is produced in the stomach. This makes absorption of vitamin B-12 difficult, which is not ideal as this vitamin helps to keep the nerves and blood healthy. The recommended daily intake of vitamin B12 can be consumed in supplements or fortified foods.
Aging causes the skin to be less effective at synthesizing vitamin D. As such, you should talk to your doctor about supplementing your diet with a multivitamin or fortified foods. This is especially essential for obese individuals and those who have limited exposure to the sun.
In addition to eating well, drinking water is extremely important. This is especially true during the senior years because as individuals get older, some become quite prone to dehydration. This is because seniors have a less acute sense of thirst. Additionally, sipping water regularly can help to prevent constipation, urinary tract infection, and confusion.