Healthy Nutrition Essentials for Older Adults
There are many perks and benefits of life in your senior years, such as finally retiring from your work and having lots of free time, but this is also the time when it’s crucial to find the right balance between a healthy lifestyle and a proper diet. A lot of health issue in adults over the age of 65 are due to the lack of proper nutrition.
In order to fully enjoy your retirement years and spend them in good health doing what you love, here are several guidelines on how to make healthy food choices.
Challenges of older age
Growing older will inevitably change both your mind and your body and most people experience physical difficulties, memory loss and decreased sensitivity. This can all affect healthy eating habits, especially if your senses of taste and smell have weakened and arthritic changes make it difficult to prepare meals.
In addition, if you’re taking prescription medication, there can be side effects that can also affect your appetite. Combined with common senior problems such as dental issues, mouth sores and jaw pains, it’s easy to put off eating and even skip meals. A lot of seniors also struggle financially and have very limited resources that restrict the number of high-quality groceries they can buy so they opt for cheaper and less nutritious substitutes.
One way of resolving all of these issues is making the choice to join an aged care facility where you will be able to enjoy full medical assistance regarding your nutrition, health and overall well-being. High-quality retirement communities ensure all residents receive a fully customized care plan to fit their individual needs, including a daily offer of well-balanced, healthy meals.
If you plan to continue living on your own, these are the important facts related to healthy nutrition.
Importance of water
In addition to a moderate daily physical activity, sufficient water intake plays an essential role in maintaining good health in senior years. Dehydration in older adults is not that uncommon and can cause confusion and drowsiness. A neat trick to make sure you drink your 8 glasses of water every day, prepare small water bottles all over your home and put one in your ready-to-go bag.
Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are important for all everyone but particularly for the seniors due to their function in preventing inflammation that is linked to cancer, arthritis and heart diseases. It also helps in reducing the risks of Alzheimer’s and in slowing down the advancement of AMD.
Best sources of these acids lie in fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines, in flaxseed, canola oil, walnuts and soybeans. The recommended weekly dose is three servings of omega-3 fatty acids.
Foods rich in fibre
The digestive system tends to slow down in older age because the walls in the gastrointestinal tract thicken. Also, bowel movements slow down as well which can lead to constipation. Fibre-rich foods such as whole grain products, nuts, brown rice, vegetables and fruits, can stimulate better digestion and relieve of any stomach issues you might have.
Essential minerals and vitamins
Minerals and vitamins are essential micronutrients that our bodies need in order to function properly and a well-balanced diet is the best way to ensure you consume them all.
For seniors, calcium, iron and magnesium are necessary to ensure healthy bones, heart and immune system. Mineral deficiency can cause brittle and fragile bones, anaemia and lethargy. Vitamins C, D and B12 play an important role in preventing cancer, heart diseases, osteoporosis, Ms, diabetes 2 and help in maintaining healthy bones, skin and nervous system.
A well-balanced diet and an active lifestyle will help you in your golden years to lead a happy, concern-free life!