There are many age-related factors that can affect changes in our nutritional intake as we age. We get less active, we develop poorer digestion, our senses decrease (due to meds or natural processes) and our teeth may deteriorate. However, people of all ages need proper nutrition to keep their body strong and healthy and their mind sharp. So, here are a few healthy nutrition tips for seniors.
Foods full of omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are important for all people, seniors especially because they help keep all types of inflammations at bay. They can also slow down Macular Degeneration that leads to impaired vision as well as reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. These fatty acids can be found in fish, mainly tuna, mackerel, salmon and sardines. Beans, nuts, and seeds like walnuts, flaxseeds, and soybeans are also rich in omega-3. Experts recommend eating omega-3 rich foods at least twice a week, but supplements are also available (consult with your health provider before getting started, though).
Foods rich in calcium
If you’re not getting enough calcium through your diet, your body will start to absorb it from your bones which results in fragile and brittle bones that lead to osteoporosis. Foods that are rich in calcium are mainly milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products. However, veggies like leafy greens and calcium-fortified cereals are also a good option. People above the age of 50 should consume 1200 mg of calcium a day (4 cups of milk, soy, almond milk or fortified orange juice).
As we age, our digestion slows down. Our gastrointestinal tract contractions are slower and fewer which leads to constipation. However, foods rich in fibre improve digestion thanks to their easy movement through the bowel. So, make sure to eat plenty of nuts, whole grain products (whole grain bread, pasta, and brown rice), fruits and veggies, all of which are widely available. Even if you need to be assisted living services, you can find good retirement homes with a diverse food selection. For example, Mark Moran Vaucluse aged care provides its residents with various breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, offering them the freedom to tailor their diet the way your body requires.
Iron has a very important role in the human body. It’s responsible for hemoglobin production which transports oxygen throughout the body. If you skip on iron-rich foods, your oxygen supply in your tissues can decrease and cause fatigue and lethargy (also known as anemia).
Foods rich in potassium
Many older people don’t take enough potassium (the recommended dose is 4700mg per day). However, potassium keeps the blood pressure at bay, helps cell function and lowers the chances of developing kidney stones. Potassium is mainly found in fruit and veggies like prunes, bananas, and potatoes. Too much potassium is also an issue, so if you’re considering starting taking supplements, make sure to consult with your doctor.
With age, the human body starts to lose the ability to conserve water, so you stop feeling as thirsty as before. However, the need for water doesn’t disappear. Dehydration is a serious issue that causes confusion, drowsiness, and many other health issues. Drinking enough fluids is especially important if you eat plenty of fibre since it absorbs water. In order to improve your water intake (8 glasses a day is the recommended quantity), grab a reusable bottle and sip it throughout the day.
Proper nutrition in your golden years is one of the best things you can do for your health. Food is what keeps us happy, healthy, strong and sharp, so don’t let old age affect your lifestyle. Today, the food selection is bigger and better than ever before, with well-stocked markets, top-notch retirement homes and even delivery services you can sign up for, so there are really no excuses not to eat well and be mindful of your diet.