The benefits of eating right at any age cannot be undermined but it becomes especially important as we age. A healthy diet in old age can improve mental alertness, counter various diseases, boost energy levels and expedite recovery times. At the same time senior health can also improve when there is a positive outlook on life and emotional balance is restored.
Changes that affect diet in old age:
Eating a balanced, healthy diet where every calorie consumed is filled with good nutrition can go a long way in old age. Because physical changes in old age impact metabolism, senior health is highly dependent on making every calorie count. Slower metabolism results in burning fewer calories so eating foods that are dense with nutrition but low on calories are the best option.
With many age related health conditions developing, senior health is also impacted by the constant intake of medications. These medications may influence appetite and taste buds causing older adults to add extra salt or sugar to food to make it taste better.
The digestive process in individuals also changes in old age. The body is no longer able to process certain nutrients as before and for maintaining better senior health, supplements may need to be considered.
Nutrition for Seniors:
Older adults can continue feeling physically and emotionally better by eating a healthy diet that best suits their nutrition requirements. Guidelines for senior nutrition require older adults to consume more fresh produce for mineral and vitamin supplementation, calcium rich foods, whole grains for carbs and fiber, and lean protein sources. To maintain bone health, calcium fortified foods will counter the onset of conditions like osteoporosis and bone fractures.
At the same time, a healthy diet for seniors will also include staying properly hydrated as in old age the body does not possess the same ability to regulate fluid levels as before. Consequently, older adults may be more likely to suffer from dehydration which can further lead to developing infections in the urinary tract, constipation and even confusion.
Supplementing vitamin B and vitamin D are also important aspects of senior nutrition in old age.
While a healthy diet for seniors emphasises including certain foods in the diet, certain others need to be minimised or completely eliminated from meal plans. This includes lessening sodium or salt to prevent high blood pressure and water retention. Processed sugar and other harmful carbohydrates can spike sugar levels and need to be removed from the diet.
Establishing Healthy Diet Habits:
To follow a healthy diet plan seniors are encouraged to not skip any meals. Having meals at regular times keeps the metabolism engaged preventing the urge to make poor dietary choices later on in the day.
It is also a good idea to have company when eating as a social setting can help stimulate the diet and make meals more enjoyable.
For healthy senior nutrition, eating from a variety of foods will keep individuals from getting bored or stuck in a rut. And while physical activity is not directly related to the diet, a combination of both exercise and nutrition can boost senior health in many ways.