Nutrition tips for seniors
Giving your body the right nutrients and maintaining a healthy weight in old age can help you stay active and independent. You’ll also spend less time and money at the doctor.

Improper nutrition can lead to undesired overweight causing many lifestyle diseases such as high blood pressure or diabetes. It may lead to too much weight loss or even weaken immune system, making a senior more susceptible to infections like common cold or even flu.

As you get older, it’s important to continue choosing healthy foods. Aging bodies need certain foods to promote good health such as protein, carbohydrates, fats and fiber.

As people age, a change in the appetite is a normal phenomenon as the metabolism slows down.  Moreover, the activity level goes down , which means the body needs fewer calories in old age. So, It becomes more important to use every meal and snack as an opportunity to get maximum nutrition. Seniors need to find ways to improve their diet keeping in view their sluggish metabolism and personal taste.

The following suggestions can help you to maintain healthy eating habits, as you get older.

Basic Dietary Principles For Seniors

The subject of nutrition is always debatable. Every now and then, there comes a new diet or study in news. In spite of diet controversies, there are many recognized canons of good nutrition for seniors that majority of fitness experts agree on. If you adopt and make them a part of your lifestyle, you will definitely see improvement in your fitness and health. And if you also add a practical exercise regime in your daily routine, you will achieve a healthy body weight as well as good physical fitness.

1. Exercise Can’t Outdo Poor Diet: Fast foods, over sized portions or junk diet will show up on your mid-section and your coronary arteries, no matter how much workout you do.

2. Consume Less Salt: Even older adults need a certain amount of salt, but too much of it can enhance the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.

Older adults should choose reduced salt varieties of foods. They can try flavor foods with herbs and spices instead of adding salt.

3. Consume Less Of Sugar, Sugary Foods, And Sugary Drinks: Well, I have seen people saying, “ A little bit of sugar is ok, in moderation.” Remember sugar is nothing but empty calories. Filling up on all those calories not only makes you fatter, but can also elevate your insulin level. This of course is bad for you. It might look to you that a slice of birthday cake at a party isn’t the end of world. But actually sugar is added to processed foods in such a manner and quantity, which you may not even realize. Keeping away from Steering sugar is good for you.

4. Limit Intake Of Processed Foods: In manufacturing process most of the valuable nutrients are processed out. Moreover generally sugars of some sort and/or hydrogenated oils are added. So, make it habit of reading the labels. Watch out carefully for claims of “Low fat” printed on the package as it could often mean added sugar – a marketing gimmick.

5. Foods Containing Saturated Fats And Trans Fats Aren’t A Good Idea Either: Pies, pastries, fried and battered foods, and ‘discretionary snacks’ like chips and chocolate are usually high in saturated fat. They may also contain perilous trans fats. They should only be eaten very seldom.

If you’re fond of desserts, make sure to make it partly nutritious and keep away from having high sugar and saturated fat foods, or those containing trans fats. Go for fresh fruits with low fat yogurt for sweetness and flavor. Wholegrain and/or oat-based options for cookies or cakes.

Useful related post: Is saturated fat good or bad?

6. Get Most Of Your Carbs From Natural Resources: Consume a variety of fruits and vegetables of different colors to meet your carbohydrate needs.

Useful related post: What are good carbs to eat?

7. Drink More Water: As you get old you may not feel thirsty as often, even when your body needs fluid. Your body requires water to provide support to many vital functions to work properly such as hydration, digestion and blood volume, etc.

Aim to drink at least 6-8 glasses of water in a day, and more in warmer weather or if you’re exercising.

8. Follow A Portion Control Eating Approach That Works Best With You: Portion monitoring technique is the single most important feature in retaining a healthy body weight and body-fat percentage. Personally, I prefer the hand measurement technique. I simply visualize my meal plate into thirds: 1/3 protein; 1/3 vegetable; and 1/3 fruit or whole grain of some sort or legumes . . . plus a little healthful fat.

Generally I take each “component third” equal to roughly the size and thickness of the palm of my hand, and no larger than my clinched fist. But, in case the vegetable portion is a loosely composed salad, then I make it a bit more generous.

I keep the fat serving – say olive oil in a salad dressing, or avocado slices, some nuts or olives – equal to about the size of my thumb.

9. Grazing Knocks Out Gorging: Three smaller meals per day, plus 2-3 healthy snacks, maintain an even energy level without insulin/blood sugar spikes. Moreover, this approach is an effective way to efficiently burn fat. For convenience, healthy shakes (smoothies) can serve as snacks.

10. Vitamins And Minerals: Vitamin and minerals deficiencies are quite common in older people as they tend to eat less, or have digestion issues due to illness or medication. However for otherwise healthy people, vitamins and minerals cannot compensate for a poor diet, and can also be expensive.

So include a variety of foods from the core foods groups to meet the needs of as many nutrients from foods as possible.

11. Bones Health: As you age the risk of – osteoporosis increases. This happens because of a decrease in bone density in old age, which increases the risk of fractures. This very often affects older people, particularly women after menopause. Fractures of the hip, leg and wrist are common amongst the elderly.

Once calcium is lost from the bones it is difficult to replenish. However there are methods to save you from the progression of the disease such as getting enough calcium, fluoride and vitamin D, as well as exercise.

Milk and milk products such as yogurt and cheese are high in calcium. Fish with soft, edible bones, like canned salmon or sardines, are also rich in calcium.

Vitamin D is also necessary in helping to build and maintain healthy bones. The best source of vitamin D is the sun. You only have to spend a short period of time in the sunshine each day, to help your body get the vitamin D that it needs.

People who have been advised to avoid the sun (such as those with previous skin cancer) or those who are unable to go outside, can get some vitamin D from foods such as egg yolk, butter, table margarine, whole milk, yogurt, cheese, malted milk, liver, tuna, sardines and pilchards or a supplement.

Finally, weight-bearing exercise such as walking or lightweights also supports bone health.

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12. Constipation: As you age, constipation also can become a regular feature. So, we recommend that you include foods in your diet that are high in fiber. Wholegrain cereals, whole meal bread, fruit, dried fruit, dried peas, beans and lentils are great sources of fiber.

Enough fiber and water, both are needed to help prevent constipation. So aim to consume enough fluids throughout the day to help prevent and alleviate constipation.

Useful Related Post: 10 Home Remedies For Constipation

Follow the above guideline and eat a healthy diet. Keep yourself active to remain fit and healthy as you age. Remember to eat well and keep moving.

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