Nutrition For The Elderly

By : | | On : August 23, 2014 | Category : Food & Health, Healthy Living

Changes become subtle as we age and slowly sneak up upon us. As you age, the number of calories you require begins to decline. You have to be more cautious about the calories you consume as they need to be packed with nutrients. The body becomes less efficient at absorbing certain key nutrients. The taste of food starts to change, some foods begin to become difficult to chew or digest. Your body may also begin to decrease on the amount of liquids you take in as you start to feel less and less thirsty.

Here are some ways to keep up with the nutrition your body requires.

1. Water

This is the most obvious, so why the need to point it out? Water is crucial for good health and may not seem like an essential vitamin or mineral. With age, the feeling of thirst may decline as certain medicines increase dehydration. Nutritionists recommend you drink 3 to 5 large glass of water each day. The best way to tell if you’re drinking enough water is the color of your urine. The color should be pale yellow. If it isn’t, increase the consumption of your liquids.

2. Calcium

Calcium is very important and plays a big role in the body. It’s especially important to constantly build and maintain strong bones. As the body grows older, we consume less calcium in our diets. Consider having three servings a day of low-fat milk and other dairy products. Dairy products may be hard to consume and digest, so try calcium-rich foods such as kale and broccoli. Try finding juices fortified with calcium. The ideal source of calcium is dairy-food products, but if you find it hard to consume consider talking to your doctor about whether you may need to supplement.

3. Fiber

Fiber is necessary in promoting a healthy digestive system. Foods rich in fiber may also protect against heart diseases. Look to eating whole grains, nuts, beans, fruits, and vegetables to boost fiber in your diet. If you don’t eat enough whole foods, you may not be getting enough fiber in your body. 

4. Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and maintain bone density. It can also prevent osteoporosis in the elderly. Vitamin D and calcium go hand in hand, so you must have both for your body to keep those bones strong and healthy. New findings have suggested the vitamin D may protect against diseases such as type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune diseases, and rheumatoid arthritis. Go out and enjoy the sun a little if you can. You’ll get a whole days worth of vitamin D in just 10-15 minutes.

5. Vitamin B-12

B12 is a very important vitamin as it creates red blood cells and DNA. It’s also known to maintain healthy nerve function. B12 becomes harder to absorb as you grow older. The richest sources of vitamin B12 are meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and milk. Talk to your doctor if you’re considering supplementing.

6. Potassium

Potassium is also a must in keeping the bones strong. This essential mineral is vital for cell function and has been shown to reduce high blood pressure. It is also been know to prevent the risk of kidney stones. Eat fruits that are high in potassium such as banana, plums, prunes, and potatoes. Considering leaving the potatoes with the skin on as they contain a particularity high amount of potassium. It’s very easy to add potassium into your diet. Snack on a banana, add it to a snack, or try prune juice.

7. Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential nutrient for bone health. It plays a crucial role in 300 different physiological processes. Getting enough will keep your immune system in great shape. It’ll keep your heart healthy and bones strong. As you get older, you may begin to take medication, and as a result the absorption decreases. Elderly make take medications such as diuretics, which can reduce magnesium absorption. Great sources of magnesium include fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans, seeds, and whole grains. 

8. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are great for the heart. It is found primarily in fish, but you may also supplement them. Omega-3 fatty acids have a range of benefits, such as reducing symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis. Try to have at least 2 servings of fish a week. Tuna, salmon, sardines, and mackerel are especially high in omega-3 fatty acids. It can also be found in vegetables such as soybean, flaxseed, walnuts, and canola oil. If you’re not big on fish, talk to your doctor about taking supplements. 

As we get older, our bodies require more work from us. Things start to slow down, memory becomes shot. By taking care of your body now, it’ll only help as you age. Young or old, consider these essential nutrients in your daily diet. Talk to your parents and grandparents. Find out what their daily routine with medication, food, and vitamins are. See if they’re getting enough of everything to keep their body healthy. Talk to their doctor and see what you can do to help. As you help take care of them, remember to take care of your own body as well.

Image credits: http://balance4lifechiropractic.com/how-we-can-help/nutrition/

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