As people become older, the bodies change as well. Therefore, the nutrition needs of senior citizens are quite different from those of children, teenagers or adults. Some of the notable changes that might occur with seniors include the following.
• Slow Metabolism – The metabolism rate for the elderly is considerably low. Therefore, the body doesn’t burn calories anymore. As such, seniors should eat lesser food to remain healthy. The food should also be full of nutrients.
• Changes In The Digestive System –When you get older, the body produces fewer fluids required for digestion of food. Therefore, it’s tough for the body to absorb necessary nutrients.
• Changes In The Appetite – A lot of senior citizens take various medications for health reasons. Therefore, they might experience side effects such as lack of appetite.
• Poor Emotional Health – Elderly people often feel depressed or lonely thereby losing their interest in eating. For some, they might want to eat more food and gain extra pounds.If you’re planning the nutrition needs of an elderly individual, you need to consider a lot of factors. For instance, the diet needs to be packed with vital nutrients. That way, it can ward off any common health issues such as diabetes, constipation, high blood pressure, heart problems or high cholesterol. Here are some tips for a healthy diet for a senior individual.First, at least half of the plate should be vegetables and fruits. If you choose grains, they should always be whole grains. Eat less food because of low metabolism rates. Always choose foods with low sodium content. Always choose healthy fats such as those found in nuts, avocados, seeds, vegetable oils and much more.
A senior citizen should always be hydrated. You can take a lot of water or non-fizzy or non-caffeinated drinks. Also, the diet should contain foods with very high water content such as grapes, soups, melons, cucumbers and much more. Of course, if there are different dieting instructions prescribed by the doctor, they should be followed to the letter.
The diet should contain a lot of fiber and roughage. For instance, you should concentrate raw fruits, whole grains, and vegetables. These foods will reduce constipation while providing minerals, fiber, vitamins and nutrients that are crucial for proper aging.
Finally, the diet should contain proteins such as eggs, beans, chicken and fish and lean meats. Proteins allow the body to produce the energy necessary for bodily functions and day to day activities.
Tufts University Research Center on Aging created the illustration to highlight recommended food portions and exercises for those over 65.
You are never too old to start exercising. Check the video on this page to know what we mean!