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Nutrition for Seniors: What to Know

Nutrition for Seniors: What to Know

If you are a Senior Citizen, it is important to know what your nutritional needs are so that you can live a healthy lifestyle. In this article we will be discussing how Senior Citizens should eat and drink in order to get the best possible nutrients for their body.

Digestive System Loses its Strength 

The senior citizen diet should emphasize fiber because senior citizens do not digest fiber the same way as they did when they were younger. Fiber helps senior citizens stay regular and promotes a digestive tract that is free of constipation, hemorrhoids or colon cancer. Fiber also works to slow down the digestion which will help senior citizens feel satisfied longer after meals making them less likely to overeat snacks since their stomachs are more efficient at signal when it is time to stop eating. 

Appetite Goes Through Changes

As people age, they naturally have a lower appetite with senior citizens having the lowest appetites, but senior citizens should still eat three meals a day. 

Changes in Taste Buds

Senior Citizens experience changes in taste buds as they age. This can make senior citizen diets seem bland to senior citizens since they cannot get used to the things they are eating. It is important for senior citizens to report any unusual or new symptoms to their doctor. Also be sure you are getting enough vitamins so that your body can function normally and stay healthy throughout your life span. 

Emotional Upheavals 

It is important senior citizens pay close attention to their health by eating properly and exercising because depression often affects senior citizens after the death of a spouse in a marriage or when senior citizens lose their independence. As senior citizens age, one must stay positive about life and try to stay active by doing things like cooking meals for others or volunteering at local non-profits to keep senior citizen’s mind sharp.

Slow Metabolism 

Most senior citizens will gain weight after a certain age, not because they are eating more, but their metabolisms have slowed down enough to where senior citizens do not process the calories as well. This can lead senior citizens toward developing things like obesity which senior citizens should stay away from or try to get help for this medical condition early on.

Exercise & Mental Stimulation 

Senior Citizens need exercise in order to keep their bodies strong and healthy. Exercise helps senior citizens build muscle mass and keeps older people active mentally by challenging senior citizen’s mental capacity through activities like puzzles or games.   

What to Eat?

Whole Grain

Whole grains are nutrient- and fiber-rich which helps with your digestion, offers heart health benefits, and can help you control weight. Whole grain should be the first choice over refined or processed foods because whole grains provide more nutrients than enriched products do.

Calcium

The importance of calcium for building strong bones is well known, but it’s not just a concern for younger folk. Seniors should make sure they’re getting enough bone-boosting foods like low fat dairy products and also consider supplement options to fill in the gaps where their diet falls short on other nutrients as needed.

B12

As a senior, it may be more difficult to absorb vitamin B12 than when you were younger. This is why fortified cereal and supplements are great for ensuring your needs are met during this time in life!

Fruits & Vegetables

The senior citizen diet should consist of lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean proteins and dairy products with calcium fortified to keep senior citizens healthy and free from osteoporosis (bone thinning).

Healthy Fats

If you’re looking to give your body the fuel it needs, then make sure that at least half of your food intake is composed of healthy fats. The best types are ones found in nuts and seeds as well as avocados, fatty fish (salmon), vegetable oils like olive or coconut oil, and even butter from grass-fed cows. Saturated fats come primarily from animal products such as red meat so if you want more energy than try taking a break for two weeks by going vegan!

What Not to Eat?

High sodium content

Foods with high sodium content should be avoided such as cured meats, canned soups or vegetables that are very salty. Some senior citizens may already suffer from high blood pressure so it is important for them to watch their daily intake of salt for optimum health. Canned foods in general are a big no-no as they contain too much sodium and the senior citizen diet should consist of fresh ingredients that can be bought at the grocery store or farmers market near their home or apartment.

Refined Grains

Grains like refined white breads and pasta products containing bleached flour (the process used to make white flour) along with sugar can lead to the development of diseases like diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. They should also limit their caffeine intake as caffeine causes dehydration . 

Dairy Products

Foods that senior citizens are allergic to or don’t tolerate well should be avoided such as dairy products (if they have a lactose intolerance), gluten, certain herbs and preservatives. Besides the fact that senior citizens might develop an allergy to these foods due to other existing conditions, senior citizens should not eat these types of food because it doesn’t provide them with proper nutrition for an optimum life span.

Last modified: August 2, 2021
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