Having a healthy diet is important at any stage of our lives; however, our necessities change as we age. Eating healthy can help you if you have weight problems or a chronic condition like heart disease or diabetes. Acquiring a balanced diet can be difficult if you have never eaten consciously in your whole life, but this could be the perfect moment to do it as it would improve your health and help you deal with the changes you experiment when aging. Today we will give some nutrition advice for seniors so they can start eating better.
Start making changes step by step
Changing your diet as a senior can be a challenge if you’ve had the same habits during the majority of your life. However, this is not an impossible mission and there are some ways in which you can make the process more bearable.
First, make changes gradually. Do not expect to change your whole diet overnight. If you do radical changes, you will end up frustrated and missing all the food you used to eat. Instead, introduce changes gradually. If you have to eat more vegetables, for example, incorporate them in a food twice a week, and increase the frequency and quantity with time.
Another thing that can help is making the changes with someone else, maybe with your partner or your family. This is very helpful if you don’t live alone, because it will be harder to improve your diet if you are eating healthy but everyone else around you keeps eating the same things. Ask the people that lives with you to eat the same things as you, and when you eat together try to make interesting and different plates.
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Choosing the foods you should incorporate in your diet
In order to know what foods you should eat, you need to know your necessities. When we are older, our metabolism slows down, especially if you don’t exercise as much as you should. This means that you are going to need fewer calories. Your digestive system also suffers certain changes that could make difficult the absorption of nutrients.
Another thing that could affect your diet is losing your appetite. This is very common among seniors, especially when they take multiple medicines at the same time. All of these mean that your foods should be as nutrient-rich as possible.
Introduce all the nutrients your body needs in your plates. Your meals should include lean protein (found in seafood, beans, etc.); fruits and vegetables; whole grains and low-fat dairy. Make sure to consume Omega 3 fatty acids, which are found in walnuts, canola oil and certain types of fish, and calcium, which is essential for seniors as the bones become weaker. Calcium is found in orange juice, dairy milk, or fortified non-dairy milks and kale.
Reduce the consumption of sodium and trans fats. This could help you if you suffer from diseases like heart disease or hypertension.
Ask your doctor
Talking to your doctor before changing your diet is a very good idea. He can tell you if you have specific necessities that you should consider when eating or if there are foods that you should avoid. They could also prescribe you supplements to ensure the consumption and absorption of the nutrients your body needs.
This can be obvious but most people do not consume the amount of water that is recommended. As we get older, body water decreases and the risk for dehydration increases. Actually, dehydration is a frequent cause of hospitalization of older adults and one of ten most frequent diagnoses responsible for hospitalization in the U.S.
It is important to drink water regularly during the day and avoid fluids with contents of sugar and salt. You can also consume food with high water content, like soup, cucumber or watermelon. Carry a bottle of water with you when you are outside so you will always have a source of hydration.