Eating healthy is essential at any age but as you grow old, your metabolism slows down and maintaining a healthy diet becomes more important. Maintaining overall health is difficult after a certain age because of food restrictions, side effects of medications and lower appetite. Hence proper diet and exercise for an elderly become a lifestyle. A balanced diet for seniors includes high fibre content,lower calories and adequate proteins.
10 healthy eating tips for seniors:
With increasing age, the thirst awareness is substantially reduced. As a result, you decrease your intake of fluids. Many times, fluid intake is reduced to control urinary issues too. But all these factors can put you at risk of dehydration. It is necessary for you to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water daily. Drinking enough water can reduce problems like UTI, constipation and even falls. Besides water, you can compensate your fluid intake with the help of juices and milk too.
2. A balanced diet
Make sure you eat a variety of food. Maintaining the level of nutrition for seniors through various food types is considered the best option by the National Council of Aging. Your meal should include lean proteins, low-fat dairy, green vegetables and fruits, whole grains, nuts, beans, lean meat, and seafood. You should avoid artificially sweetened drinks, fatty foods, and refined flour breads. The healthy eating guide for older adults suggests that planning your meals a week ahead helps in following the healthy diet regularly.
3. Minimum salt
With a change in eating habits, we have observed that the ability to taste flavours also diminishes along with increasing age. This makes you prone to adding more salt than required in the food. Also, most seniors have a high blood pressure problem, which requires them to cut back on sodium intake. To maintain a balanced diet for seniors, you can compensate for the taste of low salt with the use of herbs and garlic. You should not consume more than 2300 milligrams of sodium in a day.
4. Choose your nutrients
In our healthy eating tips for seniors, we would like to suggest that you should avoid packaged meal or canned foods. Keep it fresh. But if you do buy canned food, read the nutrition label carefully. It should not be loaded with extra fat, sodium or sugar at any cost. And when cooking your own meals, select ingredients that are rich in minerals and vitamins needed by your body. Dark green vegetables, nuts, sprouts, beans, fruits, dry fruits are all your best friends.
5. Serving size
At this age, you need to maintain a healthy weight. That does not mean you have to make your body extremely thin, but your serving size has to be altered from what it was before. Because your metabolism is slower now, you should consult your doctor/dietician and follow the serving size advised.
6. Lower sugar consumption
Refined sugars offer no nutritional value, they are just loaded with calories. Moreover, just like salt, the sweet detection ability also goes down with age. Thus you may end up using too much sugar in your food. To maintain nutrition for seniors, we suggest that you use other spices like nutmeg instead of sugar to flavor your food. You should also cut down on sweets and processed foods like frozen meals, pasta sauce, mayonnaise, etc. which are high in sugar.
7. Fibre-rich food
The food moves slowly along the digestive tract with increasing age. Thus the problem of constipation becomes more prevalent. Many people also become susceptible to diverticulosis and even diverticulitis. The food with high-fiber content helps in reducing these risks. There are 2 types of fibre – soluble fibre and insoluble fibre. Both are important for our body. In our healthy eating guide for older adults, we suggest oatmeal and psyllium for soluble fibre intake and food like nuts, whole grains, seeds, fruits, and vegetables for insoluble fibre intake.
8. Calcium intake
With increasing age, the nutrients in the body start depleting. Bone density goes down as a result of calcium deficiency. That is why it is necessary to supplement calcium in your diet. According to healthy eating guide for older adults, calcium-rich food includes dairy products like milk and yogurt, soy milk, fish with edible bones, almonds, green leafy vegetables, tofu, and dried figs. It should also be noted that now calcium-fortified milk is also available in the market to compensate depleting calcium levels in the body.
9. Vitamin D
Bones do not just need calcium for strength. Vitamin D is also equally important. The main source of absorbing Vitamin D is sunlight but with age, the skin loses its ability to produce Vitamin D even though you have enough sun exposure. It becomes all the more difficult in the winter season. Proper nutrition for seniors demands a good level of Vitamin D too, to maintain bone strength. Apart from the sun, Vitamin D can be found in food products like fortified milk, fish, liver and egg yolk. Be sure to include them in your regular diet plan.
10. Reduce alcohol content
It is a known fact that your body becomes slow with age and loses its ability to absorb nutrients and digest food. This happens with alcohol absorption too. Older adults experience higher alcohol concentration in blood as compared to young adults after consuming the same amount of alcohol. The healthy eating tips for seniors include not consuming more than two standard drinks in a day. Also, you should consult with your doctor so that it does not interact badly with your medication. You can also take the doctor recommended Active Care for Socializers package offered by SRL Diagnostics to assess the effects of alcohol intake on your body.
We believe that the correct diet and exercise for an elderly is a necessity. Everybody struggles for a healthy life. But at an older age, the struggle is real and extremely difficult to manage. It is essential that you incorporate a healthy balanced diet and physical exercise in your daily routine to live a wholesome life. Take the doctor recommended Evergreen Care package test for 60+ Males and Females offered by SRL Diagnostics. These tests can help you to correctly asses your health and help you to take preventive measures to stay away from diseases. Staying connected with friends and family and never skipping breakfast also helps a ton.