When people grow older, their bodies and lifestyles change. As a result, their nutritional needs also change. Although those healthy older adults who eat a balanced diet do not need a dietary supplement, some aspects of aging might enhance the likelihood of a lack of important vitamins and minerals. As a result, they might experience a lot of health problems, like loss of appetite and dehydration. This article aims to provide you with a lot of useful nutrition for older adults guidelines for promoting health and wellness.
1. Nutrition For Older Adults – Nutrients You Might Be Missing
When people age, their bodies do not process as well as absorb some certain key nutrients, like vitamin B12 and vitamin D as they used to. Furthermore, they also do not take enough calcium.
- Vitamin B12: in fact, this type of vitamin can reduce the potential risk of heart disease and stroke as well. Also, vitamin B12 could help seniors protect against memory problems like Alzheimer’s and dementia, and walking problems. Normally, people often get vitamin D through a diet with animal products. However, with seniors, vitamin B12 might be more difficult to absorb as they have too little stomach acid. Actually, the stomach acid allows the human body to take advantage of vitamin. Therefore, it is important for older adults to eat more foods with high content of B12. The foods include fish, eggs, poultry, milk, and dairy products.
- Calcium: fact is, calcium plays different roles in the body. However, it is most critical for establishing and maintaining strong bones. Nevertheless, research shows that when people age, they consume less calcium in their diets. The deficiency of calcium leads to the risk of brittle bones and fractures as well. Thus, in order to get enough calcium, you should take three servings of low-fat milk and other dairy products per day. The rich sources of calcium contain broccoli and kales.
- Potassium: For seniors, taking enough potassium in the diets will keep their bones strong. The necessary mineral is important for cell function and can help decrease high blood pressure and the risk of kidney stones. When it comes to rich sources of potassium, vegetables and fruits are by far the richest dietary sources. Prunes, plums, banana, and potatoes with their skin especially have high content of potassium. In case you are considering those potassium supplements, you should talk to a doctor initially in order to avoid dangerous problems for your health due to the imbalance of potassium.
- Vitamin D: this vitamin helps the human body process calcium, thereby keeping bones strong. As people get vitamin D through sunlight, those who do not get outdoors much or always wear sunscreen might need further vitamin D supplement. In other words, those people who live north of the 45th parallel are also prone to suffering from vitamin D deficiency. You can get vitamin D in many foods, like cereals or some dairy products.
- Magnesium: this substance plays an important role in nearly 300 physiological processes. If you get enough magnesium, you could keep your immune system healthy, your heart and bones strong. Vegetables though include magnesium, yet it is often lost in processing. The ability of magnesium absorption reduces with age. So, from now, you should fill your plate with unprocessed foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and whole grains.
- Fiber: consuming fiber can enhance healthy digestion effects by moving foods through the digestive tract. The sources of high fiber content consist of beans, grains, fruits and vegetables which also come with many benefits, such as protecting against heart disease. When you do not eat enough whole foods, then you might not get enough fiber. Thus, add whole grains, beans, nuts, and fruits as well as vegetables into your family’s current diet in order to get enough fiber. Family could help out with this. As visiting your parents, you can divide up pumpkin seeds, nuts, blueberries or chopped vegetables into many snack size bags, and then put them into the fridge.
- Water: everyone needs to take enough water for healthy life, including older adults. Water may not seem like an essential vitamin and mineral, yet is it very important for good health. As we age, sense of thirsty might decline. Moreover, some certain medicines develop the risk of becoming dehydrated. Water is particularly important. If you are enhancing the source of fiber in your diet as it absorbs water. As recommendations, 8 glasses of fluids per day after physical activities are important for the human health. Nevertheless, some people might need to have the amount of fluids restricted because of medical reasons like liver or kidney disease. Just make sure that you follow the advice of your own healthcare provider about a proper fluid intake level.
Read more: benefits of water
- Omega-3 fats: These are unsaturated fats which are found in fish. They have a variety of benefits, containing possibly decreasing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and slowing down the development of age-related macular degeneration – a disease which involves in degenerated vision in seniors. Nutrition experts advise old adults to consume at least 2 servings of fish each week. Salmon, tune, mackerel, and sardine are very high in omega-3 fats. In other words, some other vegetable sources of omega-3 contain walnuts, soybeans, flaxseed, and canola oil. Though omega-3 supplements could be used but you also need to consult your doctor before beginning taking them. A quick solution for getting omega-3s is purchasing canned salmon to put on the salad.
2. Nutrition For Older Adults – Tips To Wholesome Eating
- Reduce sodium: from now, you had better reduce the quantity of salt in your diet in order to prevent water retention and high blood pressure. Instead, you can look for the low-sodium label and season meals with herbs, garlic, and spices
- Go for good fats: take advantage of avocado, olive oil, salmon, flaxseeds, walnuts, and many other monounsaturated fats. With the use of these foods, you can protect your body against heart disease via taking control of “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and increasing “good” HDL cholesterol levels.
- Avoid “bad” carbohydrates: those bad carbs are known as unhealthy or simple carbs. The foods with bad carbs contain white flour, white rice, and refined sugar which have been stripped of fiber, bran, and nutrients. The bad carbohydrates cause spikes in blood sugar levels and short-lived energy. So, for getting long-lasting energy and stable insulin levels, it is better for you to choose complex or “good” carbs like whole grains, fruits, beans, and vegetables.
- Cook lucid: the best manner to prepare vegetables is by steaming or sautéing in the olive oil as it can preserve almost nutrients. Do not boil veggies as it might drain nutrients.
- Go for a plate with five colors: this tip comes from Japanese food culture. According to this, you should include 5 colors on your plates. In fact, fruits and vegetables are rich in color correspond to their rich nutrients. For instance, you can add melons, blackberries, spinach, yams, tomatoes, and zucchini to your plate.
- Be careful with alcohol: alcohol does not supply any essential nutrients but it is actually full of kilojoules. Nutrition experts recommend that healthy men and women, especially the elderly, should consume less than 2 standard drinks on any given day for reducing the alcohol related diseases. Furthermore, they should also take no more than 4 standard drinks on any occasion in order to reduce the risk of alcohol-related injury on that case.
3. Nutrition For Older Adults – Shopping For Food
When mentioning to nutrition for older adults guidelines, shopping for food is also important for preparing the best diet plan possible that the elderly should know. Do you find it difficult to get the grocery store?With older adults, shopping could become more difficult, especially for those who live alone or those with mobility problems. Before going shopping for food, you should make a list of groceries you need, find a shopping buddy if possible, and share large food items with them.
You can shop when the store is not as busy so you can save time when shopping. Before buying anything, read the labels to make sure you are getting what you want safely.
Besides, if you do not go out for shopping, you can order your groceries by your phone and wait for delivery.
It is a great idea to have a cupboard well-stocked with foods that could be kept for a long time without being stale. By this way, they could make it easier to prepare a tasty, nutritious meal. This might contain:
- Canned and UHT fruit juice
- Caked beans plus with bean mixes
- Canned vegetables
- Spaghetti, flour, macaroni, rolled oats, and breakfast cereals
- Canned meat and fish
- Canned soups
- Powdered and decreased fat UHT milk and custard
- Sauces and pastes
- Vegetable oil like canola oil and olive oil
Whenever possible, try to share mealtimes with family and friends.
Generally, enjoying a healthy, well-balanced diet and staying active can keep you healthy as you age. Just keep in mind to eat well, keep moving, and call on family and friends whenever you need some help along the way.
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