Meeting Nutritional Needs as You Age
As they age, seniors may face certain challenges regarding proper nutrition. Medications they take may cause appetites to diminish or foods to taste differently. Some may lose interest in eating nutritious meals because they find it hard to cook for one and feel lonely when dining alone. In addition, metabolic rates lower with age meaning fewer calories are required to maintain an ideal weight.
Keeping these issues in mind, it is critical for seniors to understand how to manage their nutritional needs as they get older.
With good nutrition being a hot topic in the news lately, there is an abundance of information regarding how to meet nutritional requirements available for all age groups. In an effort to make it easy to find this information in one place, Comfort Keepers® has compiled the following guidelines for seniors to follow in order to meet their nutritional needs.
- Protein and fiber are crucial for good nutrition. Foods high in fiber can help maintain healthy digestive systems. Raw fruits and veggies are packed with fiber and also provide essential vitamins and minerals. Proteins are vital in maintaining energy and strength. Kidney beans, black beans, artichokes and lentils are all excellent sources of fiber as well as protein. Foods with protein include fish, nuts, lean poultry and meat.
- Whole grains are also fiber-rich foods that not only aid the digestive process but promote healthy hearts, as well. Cereal, rice and bread made with whole grains can easily be found at any grocery store and provide several serving choices to meet recommended daily requirements.
- Healthy fats found in fish (such as salmon), seeds, nuts (almonds) and even vegetable oil are better choices than items containing trans-fats. Compare labels on other foods to ensure you purchase the right kind.
- Calcium is a key component in maintaining bone strength and preventing diseases such as osteoporosis. Consume several portions of low-fat dairy items daily, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt.
- Hydration is critical at any age and there are alternatives to water that prevent dehydration. Milk contributes, as do fruits such as watermelon and grapes. Juices made with 100% fruit are tasty options. Try to avoid caffeine and alcohol as these beverages contribute to dehydration, especially during seasonally hot times of year.
Before making any drastic dietary changes, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider. Your doctor may suggest vitamin and/or mineral supplements if needed, and can help you devise a nutritional plan catered to your unique needs to ensure success in reaching healthy nutritional standards.
With malnutrition rising in the senior population, it is becoming more and more important for seniors to make themselves aware of the importance of nutrition in their daily lifestyle. And, with the proper tools and resources available, planning for nutritious meals is easier than ever.
Rodriguez, Diana. Everyday Health (2011). Meeting your nutritional needs as you age. Retrieved on 8/13/12 from everydayhealth.com/senior-health/understanding/diet-and-aging-gaining-a-nutritional-edge.aspx.
NIH Senior Health. Eating well as you get older: choose nutrient-dense foods.. Retrieved on 8/13/12 fromnihseniorhealth.gov/eatingwellasyougetolder/choosenutrientdensefoods/01.html.
NIH Senior Health. Eating well as you get older: know how much to eat. Retrieved on 8/13/12 from nihseniorhealth.gov/eatingwellasyougetolder/knowhowmuchtoeat/01.html.
Centers for Disease Control. Nutrition for everyone: nutrition basics. Retrieved on 8/13/12 from cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/index.html.