5 Simple Diet Changes that Make a Difference for Seniors
By Paul Gamber | 1568 Views
Our bodies change as we grow older. Senior citizens have different nutritional needs than younger people, and the way they eat needs to change to meet those needs.
This does not mean that you need to give up the foods you love or make a radical change in the way you eat, simply because you are older now. A few simple changes in your diet can make a difference in your weight, energy level, and overall health.
Physical Changes that Affect Nutritional Needs in Older People
Age-related physical changes can affect nutritional requirements, appetite, and the way we process food. These changes may include:
Slower metabolism: As we age, metabolism slows down naturally and even more so when we don’t get enough exercise. The body doesn’t burn as many calories, which means we need to eat less to maintain a healthy weight and the foods we eat need to be richer in nutrients.
Less efficient digestion: The body produces less of the fluids that aid in digestion and nutrient absorption decreases as we grow older. This can lead to deficiencies in important nutrients, including vitamins B12 and B6 and folic acid.
Lack of appetite: Many older people take one or more medications for health conditions. Some medications have side effects that cause upset stomach or lack appetite, which can lead to poor nutrition.
Simple Diet Changes for Better Nutrition
As our nutritional needs change with aging, our definition of a healthy diet should change along with them. The following simple changes in the way you eat can make a difference in your nutrition and overall health:
Opt for healthy fats: Rather than trans fats and saturated fats, choose nuts, seeds, fatty fish, avocados, and vegetable oils.
Stay hydrated: Drink a lot of water and eat foods with high water content, such as melons, grapes, cucumbers, and soups.
Choose whole grains: Brown rice, whole-wheat bread, and whole-grain cereals are rich in nutrients and fiber to aid your digestion and help protect your heart.
Get plenty of protein: Lean meats, nuts, beans, eggs, chicken, and fish can provide the protein you need to power your body.
Add fiber foods: Raw fruits and vegetables and whole grains provide important nutrients, help keep you regular, help you control your weight, and lower your risk of heart disease.
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