As we age, our bodies change and older adults have different nutritional needs than when they were children or middle-aged adults. Gone are the days of fast metabolism, indulging in junk food and endless bouts of energy. Age-related changes can affect how your body processes food and your dietary needs, but there is no need to fret. A healthy diet can help ward off potential health problems that are common in older adults.
A slower metabolism, changes in bowel movements, appetite changes due to medications and emotional health side effects are all normal changes that come with aging. Most women with average activity levels will need about 1,800 calories per day. Men with an average activity level need about 2,300 daily. Fewer calories are needed if you’re sedentary, and more if you are very active.
What should I be eating?
- Calcium and Vitamin D – It is recommended to have three servings of calcium-rich foods and beverages every day to help maintain bone health. This includes fortified cereals and fruit juices, dark green leafy vegetables, canned fish with soft bones, milk and fortified plant beverages.
- Fiber – Eating fiber-rich foods helps you stay regular. It also lowers the risk for heart disease and prevents Type 2 Diabetes. Eat whole-grain breads and cereals, beans and peas, along with fruits and vegetables.
- Potassium – Increasing potassium and reducing sodium can lower your risk for high blood pressure. Fruits, vegetables and beans are great sources of potassium.
- Healthy Fats – Using healthier fats to replace bad fats (like trans and saturated fats) will boost your nutritional health. For example, cook with olive oil in place of butter and canola oil.
- H20 –Drinking plenty of water will prevent dehydration and help with age-related health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Stay hydrated!
Nutrition is a key contributor to the well-being and longevity of the elderly. At Elder Care Alliance, our dining staff provides delicious and nutritious dining options and helps residents navigate the steps to a healthier lifestyle. As always, be sure to check with your physician if you are making any dietary changes.