As seniors age, eating well can improve mental acuteness, energy levels, and resistance to illness. A healthy diet can also be the key to a positive outlook on life and staying physically and emotionally fit. Healthy eating does not have to be about sacrificing the foods you love and dieting. No matter your age, eating well should be about tasty, fresh food, and eating with family and friends.
Feed Your Mind and Body
Your age doesn’t matter and neither do your prior eating habits. It’s never too late to change your diet and improve your health. Improving your diet now can help you live longer and stronger, sharpen your mind, and feel better all around. Good nutrition boosts immunity and fights illnesses and toxins. It also keeps your weight in check. It will help to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, bone loss, and cancer.
People who eat fruit, leafy green vegetable, fish and nuts packed with omega-3 fatty acids can improve focus, and decrease their risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Antioxidant-rich green tea may help enhance memory and mental alertness as you age. Wholesome meals give you energy and help you look and feel better. When your body feels good you feel happier inside and out.
Create a Healthy Diet
The key to a healthy diet is to focus on the food your body needs as you age. Food that is closest to its natural form is best. Our bodies respond differently to different foods. It depends on our genetics and other health factors, so finding a diet that works may take a little experimenting.
Fruit—Instead of the usual apple or banana got for different things like berries or melons. Try for 2-3 servings per day.
Veggies–Choose dark, leafy greens rich in antioxidants like kale, spinach and broccoli. Also, include other colorful veggies like carrots and squash. Try for 2-3 cups each day.
Calcium—Maintaining good bone health as you age is very important. Bone health depends on an adequate calcium intake to prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures. Older adults need 1,200mg of calcium per day through servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese. Non-dairy sources of calcium include tofu, broccoli, almonds, and kale.
Grains—Be smart and choose whole grains over processed white flour for more nutrients and fiber.
Healthy fats—Fat is very dense in calories, so a little can go a long way in making you full and keeping you full longer. Check out The Fat Debate for more on saturated fats and how they can help you maintain a healthy weight.
Protein—Adults over 50 without kidney disease or diabetes need about 1 to 1.5 grams per kilogram (2.2lbs) of bodyweight each day.
Vitamins and Minerals
Water—As you get older, you are prone to dehydration because your sense of thirst may not be as sharp as it once was. Sip water regularly to avoid UTI’s, constipation, and confusion.
Vitamin B—After age 50, your stomach produces less gastric acid, making it difficult to absorb vitamin B12. You need vitamin B12 to keep blood and nerves healthy. Get the recommended daily intake of 2.4mcg from food or a vitamin supplement.
Vitamin D—As you age, your skin is less efficient at synthesizing vitamin D. Consult your doctor about supplementing your diet.
Cut Down on Sugar
While our senses of taste and smell diminish with age, we can still distinguish sweets the longest, making many older people consume more sugar and refined carbs, which isn’t healthy. Unlike complex carbs that are fiber-rich, refined carbs like refined sugar, can lead to a big spike in blood sugar, followed by a rapid crash that can leave you feeling hungry and prone to overeating.
Reducing the amount of starches, candy, and desserts in your diet is only part of the answer. Sugar is hidden in foods like canned soups and vegetables, pasta sauce, and frozen dinners. All this hidden sugar doesn’t contribute any nutrients. All it can do is wreck a healthy diet.
Many seniors need help maintaining a proper diet. There are programs out there like Meals on Wheels that will deliver nutritious, balanced meals to seniors at home.
Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we provide dining options for our seniors who can’t or don’t want to cook for themselves. We do our best to help our residents maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet.
CONTACT US TODAY for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.