There are plenty of great reasons to make sure you are getting adequate nutrition as you age. Even as your appetite and daily recommended calories decrease, your need for crucial vitamins and minerals that can contribute to better eyesight, bone density, and cognitive function can increase. To increase your quality of life and help stave off certain health conditions, follow these health tips for seniors.
One common dietary pitfall for seniors is getting enough protein and fiber. Protein is important for maintaining muscle strength and healthy organs. Fiber helps avoid constipation, and can also improve blood sugar levels and help you absorb micronutrients.
Legumes like black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, and black-eyed peas are all great ways to get a healthy serving of both. You can also enjoy whole-grains and whole wheat rather than white flour or empty starches. Rye grain, oatmeal, grits, and brown rice are also higher in protein and fiber than white or refined flours.
Some seniors might have experienced a decline in physical activity, or could be spending less time outdoors. That could contribute to a Vitamin D deficiency that makes it hard to absorb calcium, in turn affecting bone strength. But by eating dairy products like milk and yogurt fortified with Vitamin D, you can help your body get what it needs. Tuna, salmon, sardines, fortified orange juice, and some fortified cereals can also give you a dose of Vitamin D.
Seniors should also focus on staying hydrated. Our bodies retain less moisture as we mature, which can not only lead to dry skin or dry mouth, but also proper kidney and colon function. Making sure you get plenty of water is crucial. Milk or herbal tea are great options. Be certain you don’t consume too much juice or soda, however, as too much sugar can affect health conditions like diabetes.
Coffee and black tea can be diuretics, which help dehydrate you further. Too much salt can likewise dry you out, and lead to conditions like high blood pressure. So keep an eye on how much sodium you are consuming, and opt for snacks like unsalted nuts, pretzels, rice cakes, and popcorn.
Our Regency at Pineville family knows first hand what a big impact a senior living community can have on seniors’ nutritional needs. We take the effort and guesswork out of eating right by providing 3 healthy meals a day, plus fun events like Movie and Snack nights, Coffee and Conversation mornings, and holiday parties.
After all, good nutrition is important, but so is savoring your favorite foods during your golden years. The trick is finding balance, and taking the effort out of things like cooking and cleaning in favor of spending more time enjoying eating, conversing, and living life.
Written by: Meghan O'Dea