The age of nutrition
- By Team TDO
Advantages of Healthy Eating:
- Increased mental acuteness
- Resistance to illness and disease
- Higher energy levels
- More strong immune system
- Faster recuperation times
- Better management of chronic health problems
Eating Obstacles for Seniors:
- Lifestyle changes: Lifestyle changes can be an eating obstacle. For example single seniors may not know how to cook or may not like eating alone.
- Activity level: Seniors often cut back on activity for physical and medical reasons. Weight gain can result from the decrease in calories burned.
- Metabolism: Every year over the age of forty, our metabolism slows down. This means that even if you continue to eat the same amount and kinds of food as when you were younger, you're likely to gain weight because you're burning fewer calories. In addition, you may be less physically active now.
- Taste and appetite: The senses of taste and smell diminish, so one may be inclined to season one's food more heavily than before even though seniors need less salt than younger people. One may struggle with loss of appetite due to lifestyle, loneliness or a medical condition.
- Health Issues: Physical ailments and prescription medications, become a daily exercise, and ends up often negatively influencing appetite.
- Digestion:Due to changes in your digestive system, you generate less saliva and stomach acid as you get older, making it more difficult for your body to process certain vitamins and minerals, such as B12, B6 and folic acid, which are necessary to maintain mental alertness, a keen memory and good circulation.
- Emotional Factors: Emotional factors such as loneliness and depression can affect your diet. For some, feeling down leads to not eating and in others it may trigger overeating.
Specific Nutritional Recommendations for Seniors: Some important guidelines for seniors include
- Reduce sodium (salt) to prevent high blood pressure,
- Monitor fat intake in order to maintain healthy cholesterol levels
- Consume more calcium and vitamin D for bone health
- Eat more fibre-rich foods to prevent constipation
- Cut back on sugar and on dry foods
- Ensure getting recommended amount of important vitamins and minerals
- Increase water intake, and
- Perform regular physical activity
Eating well as you age is easier than you think:
- Focus on good carbohydrates. Opt for whole grain nutrition (brown rice, whole wheat bread, rolled oats, barley, and millet), not refined "white" products, such as white bread, white rice, or products made with white flour.
- To manage weight and maintain optimum health, focus on eating efficiently. This means choosing foods that maximize nutritional value, not calories.
- Whole, natural, fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, healthy sources of protein (poultry, fish, eggs, and tofu) and dairy products that contain calcium constitute efficient eating.
- Highly processed and refined foods usually contain more calories and fewer nutrients.
- Raw equals roughage! Aim to eat at least one daily serving of your fruits and vegetables raw. This not only preserves their nutritional value, it's an easy way to eliminate constipation.
- Steaming is the best way to cook vegetables; it preserves nutrients. Light sauting is next.
- Bone up on calcium. All dairy products are not created equal. Milk, cheese and yogurt retain their calcium content; cream cheese, cream and butter do not. As part of a healthy senior diet, choose fat-free or low fat dairy products.
- Choose first-rate fats. Get your "good" fats from oils such as olive oil and sunflower oil, avocados and avocado oil, nuts and seeds.
- Keep it moist. In addition to drinking enough water each day, aim to consume foods with high water content. Staying properly hydrated flushes toxins from your body, relieves constipation, helps keep your joints flexible and your mind clear. High water content foods include melons, grapes, cucumbers, onions, apples, cabbage, and, of course, soup.