A Guide To Making Healthy Food Choices For Seniors
It’s All About Balance
As you get older, it is important to make sure that you are eating a nutritionally-balanced diet. When your body gets the vitamins and nutrients that it needs, it not only provides you with energy but it also helps you stay at a healthy weight. Likewise, a nutrient-dense diet can help reduce your risk of developing common health conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
When choosing what to eat, look for foods that are high in fiber and that contain a lot of vitamins and minerals. Avoid processed foods that have saturated fat, trans fats, or added salt and sugars. If you already have a chronic illness, you may need to work with your doctor to come up with a diet plan that supports your unique nutritional needs.
Understanding The Changing Dietary Needs Of An Aging Body
As your body ages, your dietary requirements undergo some major changes. Here are some of the factors that come into play:
As a general rule of thumb, older people require fewer calories than younger people. As a result, you may have to cut back on the amount of food that you eat if you don’t want to gain weight.
There are a couple of different factors that contribute to the body’s reduced caloric needs. For one thing, muscle mass tends to deteriorate along with age. Additionally, older people tend to be less active than younger people, burning fewer calories as a result. Over time, the loss of muscle and the decrease in activity can result in a slower metabolism, lowering the number of calories that you need as a result.
Older people often experience a reduction in their appetite. Along with age, many people experience a decline in their ability to taste and smell their food. This can take some of the joy out of eating, causing them to eat less overall.
If you are less active than you used to be, eating fewer calories most likely won’t be problematic. On the other hand, however, it is important to make sure that you are getting enough food to support the nutritional needs of your body. If you consistently under-eat, you may not only wind up malnourished but also may increase your risk of developing certain health conditions.
Changes To Your Health
As you get older, your risk of developing chronic illnesses like high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, or high cholesterol increases. Oftentimes, these conditions can be prevented or controlled through dietary changes.
You may also develop intolerances to certain kinds of foods such as dairy products, peppers, onions, or foods that are excessively spicy. In some cases, you may need to alter your diet to keep these foods from causing digestive problems. You may even need to talk to one of the many experts in elderly care Houston has to offer to get dietary advice and information.
If you have a chronic illness, you may need to take medication on a regular basis. Unfortunately, many medications have the side effect of decreasing your appetite. Some can also prevent proper absorption of nutrients from the food that you eat or the vitamins that you take.
A good example of this can be seen with the drug Coumadin (warfarin). Patients who take this drug are advised not to eat grapefruit since it can interfere with the body’s ability to process the drug. You also need to make sure that you are consuming plenty of vitamin K. You can get vitamin K in your diet by focusing on eating leafy green vegetables such as kale or spinach.
Anytime you take prescription medication, it is important to talk to your pharmacist or your doctor about your diet to make sure that there are no changes that you need to make.
The Condition Of Your Teeth
Tooth decay, tooth loss, ill-fitting dentures, and other oral health problems can make it difficult to eat certain types of food. You may need to adjust your diet to accommodate certain oral health conditions.
Changes In Immunity
As you get older, your immune system naturally declines. As a result, you may be more at risk of experiencing problems with food poisoning or other food-related illnesses.
No matter how young or old you are, it is always important to take safety precautions when preparing food. As you get older, however, you may need to be even more cautious with certain types of food such as recipes that incorporate raw eggs like Caesar salad dressing and homemade mayonnaise.
Since her childhood days, Angela has already admired those people who give primary care to the seniors. Because of her passion towards elders, she decided to take Physical Therapy in college which specializes rehabilitation for the elders. During her free time, she writes in her journal about the different moments she had with the elders that she loves most.