Every time you come across a magazine or watch the news, you will always find some advice on healthy eating. We are so concerned about our weight and blood pressure, but we never bother to know our body nutritional levels.
Regardless of how much we may ignore proper dietary guidelines, what is always on the plate determines our health. Eating healthy can be confusing for many of us, but it is very simple when followed. All we need to do is ensure that our meals revolve around proper and healthy diets.
The concept of healthy eating has been developed over the years and we have all been advised to eat healthily. However, have you ever asked yourself how healthy eating applies to old people? Well, perhaps you have never realized that nutritional needs change as people age.
Seniors have their unique dietary package that meets their body needs. As one age, the body undergoes several changes. Seniors are less involved in physical activity, and the body organs begin to wear out. Their mental sharpness declines and their sense of smell and taste deteriorates hence affecting their enjoyment of eating.
Apart from seeking the advice of a health care provider, the following eating tips are essential for better health among the seniors.
Right And Balanced Eating Plate
The best strategy to healthy eating is focusing on a variety of foods that contain nutrients that our body needs. The major issue here is to ensure the food you take is as close to its natural form as possible. This increases the nutritional value of food regardless of your age.
Whatever we can do for ourselves, we should do it better for the seniors. Healthy eating is not about convenient eating but rather giving the body what it requires. There should be an overall balance of nutrient-rich foods in the daily diet of old people. The following foods are vital and need to be part of daily servings.
Fruits And Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are essential for a healthy digestive system and are a natural source of vitamins and minerals. Pack your diet with low sodium vegetables and low-sugar canned fruits.
Research shows that people who eat fruits and leafy greens improve their focus, absorption of nutrients and prevent several diseases. If you are a senior, do not hesitate to break that apple, orange, banana, berries or melons. You can also go for kales, spinach, broccoli and much more.
You must be smart enough in balancing your carbs intake. Pack your eating plate with brown rice, whole wheat pasta, beans, and nuts.
Protein plays a great role in improving mood, weight management, stress resistance, and fighting depression. Take a break from your red meat and try out beans, peas, milk, cheese, peas and fish.
Ensure your diet consist of high-quality natural protein as taking low-quality protein increase the chances of cancer and heart diseases. The good part of taking high-quality protein is that you will be able to save some bucks.
Prefer fat-free or low-fat food items such as avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. They contain healthy monounsaturated fats that are essential for the proper functioning of the body. Lack of adequate fats among the seniors may lead to extreme weight loss and overall body weakness.
Do not also forget to include fish and walnuts. They contain Omega-3 fatty acids. Avoid taking foods with fat that is solid at room temperature. However, you can have dairy products such as milk and yogurt. Their fat content significantly contributes to a healthy living among seniors.
You should avoid trans fats contained in commercial products at all costs.
This is essential for healthy and stronger bones. Adults require 1200 mg of calcium daily. Some of the sources include kale, milk, yogurt, broccoli and almonds.
Seniors are advised to pack their diets with a glass of orange juice or take peel citrus fruits. Frozen vegetables are a good source of vitamin C.
As we age, the ability of our bodies to synthesize vitamin D decreases. Some of the healthy natural sources of Vitamin D include liver, oily fish, egg yolks, margarine fortified with Vitamins D and sunlight.
Take Foods Rich In Fiber
As one age the digestive system gets impaired. The best way to boost digestion and optimize body functionality among seniors is by taking foods rich in fiber. Fiber-rich foods are plenty and readily available. The daily diet should consist of at least 50 grams of fiber for women and 21 grams for men. Healthy sources of fiber include:
- Whole grains such as wheat cereals, barley, oatmeal, beans, and nuts.
- Vegetables such as celery, carrots
- Whole fruits.No pilling
Foods rich in fiber not only improve digestion but also prevent constipation and keeps body cholesterol levels healthy.
Be Careful With Sugar And Salt
Older people have weakened smell and taste sense, but the ability to identify sweet foods lasts for long. This, therefore, affects the dietary habits of seniors. Most of them are culprits of high-sugar consumption. Excess sugar should be avoided at all costs as it can cause a spike in blood sugar level. It also raises the chances of having diabetes and leads to dental problems. The following interventions can help avert this risk:
- Reduce sugar intake gradually. It ‘s hard to change from high sugar diets to lower healthy sugar-diets instantly. The best way is to achieve this is by slowly reducing the sugar in your diet.
- Replace sugary diets with naturally sweet foods such as fruits, yams or peppers. Drain excess sugar from canned foods and juices.
- Avoid taking sugar-sweetened drinks such as sodas and commercial juices. Be careful to read the labels of products to ensure they are sugar-free.
- Avoid taking refined carbs as most of them contain sugar. Instead, pack your eating plate with complex carbs
Older people are more inclined to salt foods due to their impaired sensitivity to such tastes. Excess salt leads to high blood pressure among the elderly. To enjoy your old age, reduce your salt intake to less than 1500 mg per day. Try a much as you can to be inclined to foods that have low sodium content. Instead of using salt to season food, try using herbs, spices or healthy oils.
Cope With Old Age Challenges
More than 30% of the seniors suffer from malnutrition, not just because they lack food but due to other challenges. The biggest problem is loneliness. Other challenges include requiring someone to help them in preparing meals and living on a tight budget.
You must have noticed the smile on their faces when they get someone to talk to and narrate those old sweet stories. Loneliness leads to depression, which affects their ability to eat well. There is always a connection between the way we feel about ourselves and our health. The following tips can help seniors live an emotionally-balanced life and enjoy healthy meals.
- Reach out to friends or neighbors and take meals together
- Learn to cook for yourself if you are divorced or happen to lose your spouse. This will help you to be physically active and give you a chance to take charge of your health.
- With the right plan in place, you can cut down on junk or processed foods and enjoy cheaper healthy foods.
Water and other water-based fluids help keep the body healthy. As we age, we are more prone to dehydration as our sense of thirst deteriorates. Proper hydration also prevents urinary tract infections, constipation and enhances mental sharpness. Make a habit of drinking 8-10 glasses of water each day. However, be careful not to take sugary drinks as this may lead to other health complications.
It is not easy to get all the required nutrients. In fact, most people do not even take half of the nutrients the body needs. You can seek the advice of your doctor or dietician for guidance on the best supplements out there on the market. Some supplements have potential side effects when used wrongly.
Do not also forget that there are several scams in the market today. Caution must be exercised to make the best value for every penny. There are supplements for Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin D, calcium, magnesium and much more. Let your doctor determines the supplements that your need.
Stick To Recommended Servings
You should control the portions of different food servings to stay healthy and maintain the recommended weight. There are several tips and guidelines on the nutritional requirements of your body regarding age. You can learn more from the American Heart Association. It provides recommended daily servings for seniors.
To live a healthy life, a balanced and varied diet should be our lifestyle and not a choice. Seniors must be very vigilant to changes in their appetite, sensitivity to tastes and weight. Also, exercise should never be a story of the past unless you are prepared to spend your entire old age on the bed. In the case of any unusual conditions, you should seek the advice of your doctor.