Good nutrition for seniors makes sure that the body fights off chronic illnesses like heart disease and diabetes. It also helps with keeping the body in excellent working order, maintaining high energy levels and boosting the mood. Unfortunately, a large number of people over the age of 65 are either malnourished or at risk of malnourishment. The problem is widespread and it is vital to prevent it from getting worse. Malnutrition occurs when nutrition needs change as we get older alongside our diets not being able to adapt to the change.
Additional Protein Intake
As we get older, muscle mass and strength can reduce significantly, even if we remain active. The loss of muscle mass can pose a higher risk of fractures making you frailer. Consuming more protein while maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help you keep a healthy muscle mass and avoids you to become weaker. Start with basic chair exercises to avoid muscle loss as you age.
Additional Fibre and Water Intake
Constipation is common in seniors which could sometimes be very painful and uncomfortable. This leads to a lack of appetite which in turn slows down the digestive system. Additional fiber intake helps to combat constipation and gets your digestive system moving. Older people also tend to get dehydrated easily, thus a higher intake of water is also needed.
Different Nutritional Needs
Muscle and bone density loss comes as we get older, although a good level of exercise can avoid these issues. Issues that are unavoidable as you age are problems such as, firstly, less need for calories, which leads to a lower food intake resulting in a lesser opportunity to intake calories dense, nutritious food. Secondly is the inability to recognize hunger or thirst, and lastly, less stomach acid leads to the malabsorption of minerals and vitamins.
The fact is that we need to take in the same amount of nutrients even though we eat less as we age. Eating too much may cause other issues such as obesity which is unhealthy that could lead to another set of problems. To combat these issues, eat a balanced diet including, lean meat, fish, fruit and vegetables and a healthy source of calcium like low-fat cheese. It is ideal to consume vitamin D, B12 and calcium as supplements to ensure that your body takes the essential nutrients.
Nutritious Dense Food
Fewer calories are needed for our system as we get older. We tend to have a lower appetite because of certain medications. Older people sometimes struggle to cook their own food and usually rely on a spouse or family member for years. The moment that spouse or family member is not there to help anymore, he or she will have a difficult time cooking up a meal and maintaining a nutritious system in their body. Thus, more nutrients in a smaller amount of food are ideal and a really good goal.
Our diet is a fundamental piece of our overall well-being and deserves attention. Having a balanced nutrition as a senior is the difference between a carefree lifestyle and one that requires around-the-clock care.