Nutritional Requirements as You Age
Healthy eating changes over the years. Young children have different nutritional needs from teenagers. The eating habits of adults should change over time. As you age, your metabolism slows. You may need fewer calories when you’re 50 than when you’re 30. Learn more about nutrition as you age to help you take care of your elderly loved ones.
Increased Dietary Fiber
Fiber is what keeps a person regular. Fiber-rich foods include grains, legumes and some fruits and vegetables. Adults over the age of 50 need around 25 grams of fiber daily to prevent constipation, lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar, but many Americans don’t get enough. For seniors, getting enough fiber helps maintain their weight and reduce their reliance on medications.
Fewer Calories, More Nutrition
Seniors tend to move less, which reduces their need for calories. This doesn’t negate the need for vitamins and minerals that are found in food. Nutrient-rich foods are an important part of elderly care. Whole foods that have high levels of vitamins B12 and D keep seniors healthy. Calcium is important to keeping a person’s bones strong. It’s important to give seniors healthy meal options.
Lean Proteins Build Muscles
After 30, your body changes dramatically. You can lose between 3 to 8 percent of your muscle mass every decade, which reduces your strength. One way to slow the rate of muscle loss is to increase protein. When a protein-rich diet is combined with resistance exercise, it helps seniors stay strong and healthy.
Iron Prevents Anemia
Anemia is a condition that prevents the blood from supplying oxygen to the body. Iron deficiency is common in seniors. Eating foods rich in iron, such as beans, seafood, dark leafy green vegetables and iron-fortified cereals prevents loss and maintains health.
How Do You Encourage Seniors to Eat Healthy?
As people age, it can be difficult to eat healthy. Tooth decay and loss can affect a person’s diet. Some seniors don’t feel like cooking nutritionally rich foods, a lack of energy or loneliness makes it difficult to perform regular tasks. Budget can be another barrier to eating healthy. Some seniors lose their appetite from chronic conditions or medications.
The solution to eating healthy is helping your seniors overcome the barriers. Caregivers can help with meal shopping and preparation to give seniors more choices. Individualized meal planning of foods that your senior enjoys can help them eat better, even when they aren’t feeling well.
Gentle Shepherd Home Care offers meal planning and preparation services in the comfort of your senior’s home. If you’re unable to be there for your loved one, a trusted caregiver offers extra assistance for daily living activities to improve the quality of life for your senior. Contact us for more information on helping your loved one eat healthier.