Senior Nutrition | Eating Well as You Age
What is nutrition? Why is it important?
According to MedlinePlus, the study of Nutrition focuses on foods and substances in foods that help animals (and plants) to grow and stay healthy. The right amount of healthy food is key for your body to produce energy and the ability to perform daily activities. It can also make a significant impact on body weight and reduce your risk for certain diseases such as diabetes or heart disease.
Maintaining proper nutrition is important at any age. As you age, what your body may need to function at its best changes. For example, the average adult eats two meals and a handful of snacks a day, but a newborn baby eats every 2 to 3 hours. Therefore, it is vital that you are informed about what food choices are best for your body depending on your age, activity level, health restrictions, and more. Eating healthy can help you feel better physically and mentally, which can promote a stronger and longer life.
How can I eat healthy as I age?
While specific health conditions may require unique changes to your diet, there are a few general rules of thumb that most people can follow to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Eat the Rainbow! It doesn’t have to be complicated; focus on simple, whole, minimally processed foods. Incorporate a variety of different fruits and vegetables into your grocery list. Break away from your usual banana, apple, orange routine and reach for fresh berries or melons. Rotate different leafy greens and colorful vegetables every few weeks. Eating a variety of foods from each food group can help reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases.
Stay Hydrated. Seniors are more susceptible to dehydration. As you age, your body’s natural thirst signal diminishes. Drink small amounts of fluids consistently throughout the day. Tired of just water? Reach for tea, 100% juice, or other low sodium and sugar beverage options.
Be Mindful of your Nutrient Needs. Whole grains, lean sources of protein, and low-fat dairy are just as necessary as fruits and vegetables. Focus on the nutrients you need from these food choices including potassium, calcium, vitamin D, fiber, and vitamin B12.
Know Your Resources. Not sure where to start? The USDA has a simple guide called MyPlate, showing how you can maximize your plate to get the most out of your meals. MyPlate has many resources to help you customize your diet. There are also several food assistance programs that seniors can use to help navigate their healthy lifestyle such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) and more.
Healthy eating is about more than just food. Growing older can be lonely at times. Make the most out of your moments, by inviting others to eat, cook, or go grocery shopping with you. Sharing these activities with friends and loved ones can help relieve stress and boost your mood.
Making changes to your lifestyle can be overwhelming. It is important to make sure you are speaking with your doctors and other medical professionals to find a routine that works best for you. Take it one step at a time and do the best you can with what you already have.
At Senior Helpers our Caregivers provide unique and genuine, in-home connections that are designed to give your loved ones the best quality of life. Our Companion Care Services are available to help with grocery shopping, meal preparation, and more. Depending on your loved one’s needs, we can provide in-home assistance to give you peace of mind that your loved one is safe and cared for. Find your local Senior Helpers today.