A Quick Look at Nutritional Guidelines for Seniors
We all need to take care of our bodies if we want to live a long and healthy life.
This is particularly important for seniors as when you get older your body doesn’t work as efficiently as it used to.
A lot of things change like needing less sleep, less calories a day and digestion is slower.
Around 30% of seniors lose the ability to make stomach acid and this means the absorption of folate and vitamin B-12 and B-6 id affected.
Without these vitamins, it can mean neurological problems can happen like short term memory loss, reduced alertness amongst other things.
Calories play an important part in the nutritional guidelines for seniors as generally they will need fewer calories to support their energy expenditure.
You can work out how many calories you need by having a look at how many calories you are eating now and if you are losing or gaining weight based on these.
What also needs to be considered is the type of calories that are being consumed.
According to the new USDA Food Pyramid, a senior should be drinking around 9-8 ounce glasses of water per day.
The kind of fluids that should be avoided are whole milk due to the amount of saturated fat that it contains and alcohol and caffeinated drinks as these will dehydrate the body.
Multivitamins are another key aspect of healthy nutritional guidelines for seniors as they tend to eat less, therefore may not be getting all of the vitamins and minerals they need.
Also, it is more difficult to absorb and process foods as you get older and therefore will not be getting all of the nutrients the food supplies.
It is important for seniors to try and get their calcium from leafy green vegetables and supplements as if it comes from dairy products you will consuming high amounts of saturated fats.
Whilst it can be difficult to get a daily dose of Vitamin D, this should be taken in a supplement form if it is difficult for seniors to get outside.
Daily intake of Vitamin D is good for absorbing and processing minerals as well as calcium.
Fiber is a great thing to eat as is helps with constipation, hemorrhoids as well as diverticulosis and can be found in a number of sources such as vegetables, flax seeds, legumes, whole grains and fruits.
Flax seeds are great to add to your cereals and salads as they are a good source of fiber as well as Omega-3 fatty acids which will help with cholesterol levels.
A good grocery list when shopping for seniors should include whole grain breads, cereals, rice and pastas.
Fish should be included in the diet once a week as it can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Choose vegetables of all different colors as well as walnuts, almonds, peanuts and avocados.
Use olive oil instead of vegetable oil and whole dairy milk should be avoided where possible.
Make sure you aware and conscious of portion sizes, most of us don’t actually think of it this way, but a simple sandwich with 2 slices of bread is actually 2 servings of whole grains.
Once you get into the habit of healthy eating it is easy, especially if you start from a young age so why not start now!
HelpGuide: Eating Well over 50
National Agricultural Library: Aging
AgingCare: 6 Vital nutrition Tips for Your Elderly Parents