When we’re younger, eating a healthy, balanced diet is important to help us grow. But, as we age, our needs start to change. What we eat is still important to our health, but we may need to eat more of certain nutrients and less food in general as our metabolism slows.
Let’s take a look at some tips on how seniors can eat healthy.
Eating the right amount
Seniors often suffer from a loss of appetite, which can lead to undereating and malnutrition. It’s important to make sure you’re still eating enough to meet your total daily energy expenditure. Saying that, you are also likely to need fewer calories when you get older because most people are less active in their later years, and reduction in muscle mass leads to fewer calories burned.
What you need in your diet
It’s important to get the right balance of macronutrients in the food you eat. Here are a few key things to focus on.
- Calcium and vitamin D – Our bone density and strength weakens as we age, which can cause a higher likelihood of fractures. To help keep your bones strong, a diet high in calcium is important, so make sure you get plenty of dairy products in your diet. Vitamin D increases the rate at which calcium is absorbed, so including this in your diet also contributes to stronger bones.
- High fiber – A diet that’s high in fiber is good for digestion, helping to aid regular bowel movements. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables as well as whole grains such as brown rice and wholemeal bread.
- Low sodium – Eating foods that contain a lot of salt can contribute to health conditions such as high blood pressure and heart problems. Avoid adding too much salt to food and look for low sodium alternatives to the foods you eat regularly.
- Low sugar – Seniors are at a greater risk of diabetes, so keeping your diet low in sugar can help to avoid this. Avoiding excess sugar is also important if you’re already managing diabetes.
- High in nutrients – Avoid empty calories and look for foods that are rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Choose fresh food over processed or canned food as much as possible to maintain a nutrient rich diet. Lean meats, fresh fruit and veg, whole grains, and pulses are all great nutrient sources.
Your dietary needs may become more complex as you get older, but with the proper knowledge to inform your food choices, it becomes a lot more manageable. If you need assistance caring for an elderly relative in the Piedmont Triad, then contact us today for our help.