Eating healthy is especially important with aging, because aging affects nutritional needs. Aging is linked to a variety of changes, including nutrient deficiencies, decreased quality of life and poor health outcomes. In this article we’ll talk about foods that help us age well.
Foods To Keep You Healthy As You Age
Eating nutrient-rich foods and taking the appropriate supplements can help keep you healthy as you age. It is always a good idea to check with your doctor before adding supplements to your diet.
Aging is linked to a variety of changes in the body, including muscle loss, thinner skin and less stomach acid. Some of these changes can make you prone to nutrient deficiencies, while others can affect your senses and quality of life.
Almost a quarter of the older population has a condition in which chronic inflammation which results in the ability to produce stomach acid.
- Stomach acid helps with digestion.
- Low stomach acid can affect the absorption of nutrients, such as vitamin B12, calcium, iron and magnesium.
Changes In Calorie Needs With Age
Older adults also need fewer calories because they tend to be less active, but also need the same, if not more nutrients than a younger person. Fortunately, eating a variety of whole foods and taking a supplement can help you meet your nutrient needs.
A person’s daily calorie need depends on a variety of factors including:
- muscle mass
- daily activity
Best Types Of Food For Seniors
It is very important for older people to eat a variety of whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, fish and lean meats in order to take in the nutrients that we need to stay healthy. Some of the nutrients that are needed as we age include:
- Protein – it is common to lose muscle and strength as you age. In fact, the average adult loses 3–8% of their muscle mass each decade after age 30
- Fiber – Constipation is a common health problem among the elderly, especially in people over 65, and it’s two to three times more common in women. Older people tend to move less and be more likely to take medications that have constipation as a side effect. Eating fiber may help relieve constipation. It passes through the gut undigested, helping form stool and promote regular bowel movements
- Vitamin D and Calcium – These two nutrients help in bone density.
Calcium rich food include:
- Leafy Greens
B12 rich foods include:
- Cod liver oil
- Canned tuna
- Egg yolk
Dehydration & Aging
Another issue people may experience as they age is a reduction in their body’s ability to recognize vital senses like hunger and thirst. This could make someone prone to dehydration and unintentional weight loss. Dehydration causes a loss in strength, endurance and can also cause a decrease in cognition. It is more difficult to move, feel well, and think when dehydrated.
Other nutrients that may be beneficial include:
- Omega-3 fatty acids:
Orchard at Brookhaven is a senior living community in Atlanta that’s committed to ensuring that our residents have access to a variety of foods that provide the most beneficial nutritional content. Our dietary staff works side by side with the director of wellness to provide healthy, nutritious and satisfying meals. Please visit our dining page or contact us for more information.