As you get older, getting adequate nutrition can be a great challenge. That’s because aging is linked to various changes in the body and the requirement of nutrition by your body. Giving your body the right nutrients can help you stay healthy. Thus, it becomes more important than ever to choose foods that will give you the best nutritional value.
What is nutrition and why is it important for elderly people?
Nutrition is all about following a healthy, balanced diet so that the body gets enough nutrients to keep you active and independent. A balanced diet for an elderly person should include foods that are rich in fiber, fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and more nutrients. Having such a healthy diet can reduce most of the elderly nutrition problems and help to improve mental acuteness, maintain a healthy weight, and increase your resistance to illness.
Problems more common with aging
Eye problems can occur at any age, but are more common in elderly people. A surprising fact is that one in six adults above 45 years of age has some kind of eye problem that is threatening. Other common elderly nutrition problems like diabetes, blood pressure, and heart disease increase the risk of age-related eye problems. The good news is that maintaining a healthy lifestyle which includes following a healthy diet, good nutrition intake, rest, regular checkups, and other healthy habits can prevent or improve these conditions.
Nutrition is a key component of eye health
The nutrition we intake helps in maintaining and preserving eye health at an old age. You can get all the important nutrients needed for your eyes through a healthy, balanced diet. Choose foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids.
9 Nutrition-rich foods for older adults
The definition of healthy eating changes as you age. As you get older, you need only fewer calories than before and need more nutrients. That means it’s more important than ever to choose the right type of foods that could give you the best nutritional value. Explore the 9 best food recommendations from Fine Fettle that can help you stay strong and throw away your crutch.
Apples work wonders for older adults. No nutrition tips for seniors would be complete without mentioning the goodness of apple. It is a rich source of soluble fiber that helps in maintaining blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Apples are also rich in potassium, antioxidants, and vitamin C.
Coldwater fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel contain a high level of omega-3 fatty acids. This makes them good for a healthy heart and brain. You can also include shellfish like crab, oysters, and scallops which are rich in nutrients like vitamin B12, iron, magnesium, and potassium, all of which are beneficial for brain function. Make seafood a part of your healthy diet at least twice a week.
If seafood is not your cup of tea, substitute it with nuts. Rich in omega-3s, unsaturated fats, fiber, and protein, nuts are heart-healthy nutrition and a must in the diet for an elderly person. You can include nuts like almonds, cashews, walnuts, and also seeds like flaxseeds.
Eggs are rich in protein and easy to incorporate into your meal. Eggs contain 13 essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, which is crucial for absorbing calcium needed for bone strength. They also contain choline, a B vitamin that improves memory and helps in reducing stress. Lutein and zeaxanthin found in egg yolks reduce the risk for cataracts and help prevent macular degeneration. Thus, adding eggs to your diet can protect your eyes, no matter what your age is.
As you get older, the bone loss worsens. Rich in calcium and full of proteins, yogurt help in contributing to your calcium requirement needed to prevent osteoporosis. The probiotics in yogurt also aid in solving the digestion problem that accompanies aging. You can add yogurt to fruits or fortified cereals.
Oats serve as an excellent breakfast for seniors. It is a great source of soluble fiber, which helps in lowering the blood cholesterol level and reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
7. Berries and dark-skinned fruits
Packed with various antioxidants and vitamins, berries and dark-skinned fruits help fight against free radical damages in the body. You can include blueberries, strawberries, plums, oranges, red grapes, and cherry in your food.
Filled with multiple nutrients like vitamins K, C, E, B, and antioxidants, calcium, fiber, and iron, broccoli could protect you from cancer, heart disease, stroke, and eye diseases.
Not considered a food? Think of it as one. Water is often undervalued. As you get older you may be more prone to dehydration as your sense of thirst reduces. If you’re chronically dehydrated, you can suffer from urinary tract infections, constipation, fatigue, and even mild headaches. So, remember to sip water frequently for a healthy body.
Quick nutrition tips to right eating in old age
- Balance your food intake with physical activity
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Avoid processed foods
- Include Potassium-rich foods like cumin seeds, sweet limes, and fenugreek seeds
- Cut down on salt and sugar
- Go for heart-healthy fats
- Consider taking supplements if you find it hard to get some nutrients from your diet
A word from Fine Fettle
Eating right and staying healthy at your old age doesn’t have to be complicated. Irrespective of your age or previous diet plan, it’s never too late to change your diet and improve your health. Add these foods to your diet and feel the change in you.