Nutrition and aging are connected because as we age, our body also changes. The way your body reacted to food when you were younger will not be the same after your 50s. Thus, any older adult or the person responsible for taking care of them should be aware of the dietary changes they may need with age.
To help you out, we have prepared a list of all the changes that seniors may face when it comes to their nutrition. Go through the list to understand what needs to be incorporated into a senior citizen’s daily diet:
The intake of calories is necessary at all ages. However, the required amount of calories decreases with each decade. For an older adult, more calories will only contribute to an expanding waistline, which is not something anyone would want at this age. If you are an older woman going through menopause, excessive calories can have an adverse impact on your weight. Make sure to be careful about your body needs and plan your diet accordingly.
Intake of More Nutrients
While the above point is important, the fact is that you need to consume more nutrients in older age. This may be challenging for many seniors since they do not need a higher intake of calories, the amount of food they consume will be less. Try to increase the intake of whole foods, which are rich in nutrients that are beneficial to your body. Some nutrients that you may want to consider adding to your diet include but are not limited to:
Losing muscle and strength is quite common with age. When it comes to nutrition in older adults, the intake of protein-rich foods is a must. You can take care of this by increasing the consumption of chicken and other such foods. In addition to increasing the intake of protein, exercise is necessary for a healthy body and mind.
Calcium is significant for people of all ages. However, growing adults need to increase their intake of calcium because one’s ability to absorb calcium decreases with age. Furthermore, many people develop a digestive condition known as lactose intolerance, which makes it difficult for them to eat dairy products that are rich in calcium. In such a case, try to look for non-dairy options to fulfill your body’s calcium requirements. However, if that is not possible or sufficient, you can take supplements to compensate for it. Of course, consult a doctor so they can prescribe you the right calcium supplements.
The consumption of another nutrient, fiber, becomes more important with age. This is the case because constipation is common in seniors. While there are several other ways of dealing with this health issue, fiber intake is the most natural and beneficial way of treating constipation. Seniors have to deal with constipation more often because of the medications that they are on. Many medicines can cause side effects, which include constipation, so do not forget adding fiber-rich foods to your diet.
Iron deficiency is common in people of all ages mainly because most of the food products that we consume are not rich in iron. If you are an older adult, you need to be cognizant of the amount of iron you consume daily. Thus, if you were to prioritize iron consumption, red meat is a great source of iron. Other than that, fish and poultry are also great alternatives. However, consult with your doctor to determine if these food items will suit you or not.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil is great for your brain and body. While people of all ages can benefit from consuming foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids, it is even more essential for senior citizens. This is because they help reduce or delay memory loss. Some food items that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, tuna fish, walnuts, and flaxseed. These food items help improve memory and are generally great for keeping the brain active and healthy.
Now that you know what nutrients are beneficial for seniors, you should also be aware that taking vitamins and nutrient supplements is also an option. This is necessary only for people who cannot take any of the foods that are rich in a particular nutrient due to any unavoidable circumstances. Thus, taking supplements can work well as it is still better than being deficient in a specific nutrient.
Apart from these nutrient-rich foods, increase the amount of water you drink regularly to stay hydrated. As people age, we tend to forget things. Thus, it would be best if you did not wait for feeling thirsty to drink water finally. Keep a bottle with you at all times so you can drink from it at short intervals. If you plan on going somewhere for a longer time, keeping a bottle with you also helps.
Diet According to Medical Conditions
Ideally, a senior’s diet should include all the necessary elements mentioned above. But, you need to keep in mind that an older adult’s nutritional needs are also affected by certain medical conditions. As these may vary for every person, only your doctor can guide you better about which foods you should avoid and consume. Furthermore, before taking any supplements or medication, you should consult with your doctor as they can have side effects.
Whether you are an aging adult with concerns about your health or if you have a parent who needs with their diet, hiring a caregiver can be the right solution to your problems. If you need further assistance or information on home care services, feel free to give us a call at 718-461-9602 or drop an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.