Healthy Eating for Seniors
When you reach your senior years, the lifestyle you have created for yourself over the years will obviously impact how you look and feel. As such, a life fueled by a poor diet, a lack of exercise and smoking and imbibing too much alcohol, as well as a number of other dominant aspects, will influence how your body ages. As highlighted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in their “Healthier Eating” handout, a clean and hearty diet has been proven to help you live longer, and healthy meals filled with natural ingredients can assist in sustaining wellbeing through a diet high in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, poultry and dairy products that are low in fat . Additionally, HelpGuide.org states, “As we age, eating well can be the key to a positive outlook and staying emotionally balanced.” Essentially, eating these aforementioned “good” foodstuffs will help you to “age well.”
How to Eat Healthy as You Get Older
In a perfect world, everyone will be able to practice healthy eating habits throughout their lifetime. Sadly, this is not realistic for millions of people all over the globe, due to limited finances, geographical restrictions and other sociological factors. In reality, this is not possible for a lot of us, and a significant sector of the general population habitually do not pay attention to their overall health levels until they are older and have a more stable financial foundation. Unfortunately, this often does not occur until middle age, and those in the twilight years of their life who primarily eat healthy foods possess a lower risk of ill health than those who prefer unhealthy microwaveable TV dinners, junk food, high-fat dairy items or too much red meat.
Eating meals featuring lots of fresh produce and abstaining from fatty foods and sugary dessert-related treats will reap rewards in your later years, such as reducing chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Furthermore, decrease your dependence on sodas, increase your water and fruit juice intake, and boost the amounts of fish that you consume: The American Heart Association even states, “Eating fish (particularly fatty fish) at least two times (two servings) a week… Fish is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids [that] benefit the heart of healthy people, and those at high risk of – or who have – cardiovascular disease.”
Numerous elements contribute to dire diets and ill health in older adults, for example limited physicality caused by arthritis, or cognitive limitations due to Alzheimer’s disease. Such health conditions can make the preparation and consumption of food both difficult and unenjoyable to carry out, especially if they also suffer from dental and/or stomach problems. Even financial restriction-related factors and some medications will create wide-ranging feelings of dislike and disinterest in food all together, even well-balanced meals that were previously regarded as a personal favorite.
Make the Most of What You Eat
Your metabolism will inevitably slow down in due course, so your body will be able to burn less calories, meaning you will not need to eat as much to stay at a healthy weight. Healthy meals that are jam-packed with vital nutrients can assist in keeping potential health problems at bay that many seniors commonly fall foul of, such as constipation, high cholesterol, and problems with high blood pressure. As mentioned before, keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water, as well as eating foods that possess high water content, such as soup dishes, melons and grapes. Foods that are high in fiber (like whole grains) are also good if you suffer from bowel problems as well as reducing the potential of serious heart problems.
As a final point, an elderly person’s body will naturally decrease the capacity to absorb the vitamin B12, so you should ensure that you eat foods that are fortified with B12, such as cereal. Moreover, it is a good idea to buy dietary vitamin supplements that will help you to meet your daily requirements.
By taking some of these basic suggestions onboard, you will be conscious of how to make some changes to your general daily diet and make a concerted effort to improve your health as a senior. Remember to start gradually instead of changing too much too soon. For example, try to replace the amount of junk food you eat on a weekly basis with fruit-based snacks. Changing just a little bit every week will bring you just that little bit closer to a highly attainable goal of leading a healthy lifestyle.
Guest Post by Attitudes Senior Care
AttitudesSeniorCare.com specializes in only the finest affordable senior housing, nursing home care and hospice health care services, with all the usual comforts of home, such as healthy, well-balanced meals served every day. Our nursing homes can be found in the following San Diego senior communities: Carlsbad, Clairmont, Del Mar, Encinitas, Escondido, La Costa, La Jolla, Mission Bay, Mount Soledad, Pacific Beach, San Marcos and Solana Beach. For more information about what we offer, please visit us online at Attitudes Senior Care or call (858) 922-9906 if you would like to schedule a free tour of our facilities.