For seniors, a healthy diet is incredibly important. Maintaining a proper diet helps seniors to age with grace and helps them to maintain the optimal health levels. Proper diet is very important to the proper functioning of the mind and body, and this is especially true for the changing dietary needs as one age. Seniors are more prone to the development of a wide range of different health conditions that require special nutritional considerations. While it is not always easy to provide a senior with the optimum nutrition, a healthy eating plan can not only improve the senior’s quality of living, it can reduce their risks of developing certain diseases.
Listed here are some simple tips for choosing the highest quality foods best for seniors.
- Look for nutrient dense foods. Foods that are high in nutrients, but low in calories, like fruits vegetables and legumes (peas, beans, etc.) are excellent choices. These will not put seniors over their daily caloric needs and provide a wide array of vitamins and nutrients that cannot be found in junk food.
- Go whole grain. Whole grains provide more nutrients than refined grains do. They provide more fiber which helps to aid in digestion, something many seniors have difficulty with. Whole grains also keep one fuller, longer, which helps to prohibit overeating. It is easy to make the switch to whole grains, simply swap white breads for whole wheat breads, and white rice for whole grain brown rice.
- Choose a rainbow of colors. The different pigments in fruits and vegetables that give them their colors signal the presence of certain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Merely varying the color of produce in the diet helps to ensure better nutrition as the food will provide for a wider, more varied diet that gives seniors more vitamins and minerals than they would have gotten by simply eating leafy greens.
- Know what the senior needs. As one ages, their dietary needs change as well. It is important to understand that the recommended daily allowances (calories, fat, sodium, sugar, and more) are different and should be adhered to in order to provide the senior with the best quality diet possible. For example, after the age of 50, a woman only needs 1,600 calories a day; and a man, after the age of 50 only needs 2,000 calories a day.
- Limit intake of “no-no’s”. There are certain vices that nobody should be asked to give up, such as sweets or a cup of tea, but the intake of so-called “no-no’s” should be kept to a minimum. Caregivers for seniors should help to limit the amount of sugar, caffeine, saturated fat and cholesterol.
- Increase intake of vitamin B12. B12 is a vital nutrient that the body requires and can only get from food sources or supplements. In addition to a host of other things, the adequate intake of vitamin B12 is important to proper brain functioning. As one gets older, their ability to absorb certain nutrients, including vitamin B12, is reduced, necessitating a need to increase the amount of foods high in B12 in the diet. Good choices are low-fat dairy, juices, and even cereals that are fortified with the vitamin.
- Don’t forget about Omega-3 fatty acids. The intake of Omega-3 fatty acids is shown to help improve brain health as well as to reduce the risks of many diseases that are associated with aging. Increasing one’s intake of quality sources of Omega-3 fatty acids from things like oils from flax seeds or canola, oily fish like salmon, or nuts like walnuts will increase the amount of Omega-3 in the body. This can reduce one’s risk of stroke, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, as well as help to lower one’s cholesterol and even reduce the pain associated with arthritis.
- Get nutrients from food, not supplements. It is always best for seniors to get the vitamins and minerals they need through the consumption of food, as opposed to supplementation through the use of synthetic vitamin and minerals. Conscious diet decisions that provide for the seniors’ nutritional needs are better for their wellbeing. It has been widely documented that the body best absorbs vitamins and nutrients from food sources than through the use of supplements.
Carefect Homecare services provide seniors with the highest quality in-home care services. Our caregivers understand the importance of high quality nutrition and the individual needs of each of their clients. We can offer high quality, tasty cooking services that provide a nutritionally balanced meal that provides seniors with what they need, and none of what they don’t. A balanced, nutritionally dense diet, which takes into account the specialized needs of seniors, will help to improve their health and wellbeing.