As we enter our golden years, the composition of our bodies begin to change. Our muscles begin to lose strength, bone and muscle, our organs start to degenerate and our metabolisms begin to slow down.
A lot of these changes may be brought on by ourselves due to our lifestyle choices. So maybe if we start to change our habits now we might prevent troubles later.
Let’s take a look and see what a healthy eating plan for the elderly consists of.
Low-Fat Diets Are Important
For the elderly Low Fat is a must. You can still have lean meats and low-fat dairy but stay away from fried foods. At this stage in life, we start to lose protein and muscle mass and our hearts begin to weaken.
Eliminating Bad Fats can help reduce the effects we all expect from old age like strokes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, etc.
Tips For Healthy Eating
The biggest factors in a healthy eating plan for the elderly is maintaining a balanced diet and staying active. Don’t sit in your chair, get out and walk, volunteer, do something to keep yourself moving.
I can’t help you with the exercise but here are a few tips on eating healthy.
1: Eat High Fiber Foods
Whole grains and high fiber fruits and vegetables are the key. Prunes and figs top the list of must-have foods. Limit your bad fat consumption but its OK to eat good fats like avocados, salmon. olive oil, and omega 3 Fatty acids.
Carbs and Fiber
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the entire body. You can find carbs in bread, cereals, pasta, and other grain products. A diet that’s high in fiber and water will help to prevent constipation as well.
2: Hydration, Hydration, Hydration
Water in the body decreases with age, so many older folks will become dehydrated very easily. Sometimes they would not feel thirsty, while other times it is too much work to pour a glass a water.
With this in mind, it is recommended that they drink at least 1 ounce of water for every 2.2 pounds of weight. Our bodies are mostly water, let’s keep it that way.
3: Your best vitamin and mineral allies-Vitamin D and Zinc
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium which is good for healthy bones while Zinc is responsible for enzyme function. Another factor is that a lot of medications prescribed by your doctor will reduce your zinc levels, so try to increase your intake of lean meats, fish and poultry.
4: Calcium For Strong Bones
Calcium is one ingredient that most elderly folks simply aren’t getting enough of. Most believe that milk upsets their stomach, and therefore they will avoid it.
They should be getting around 1,500 mg of calcium a day and non-fat powdered milk can be used in recipes as a substitute for milk. Other foods such as yogurt, low fat cheese, and broccoli can also help you meet the requirements for calcium.
Choose the ones you like the most. Remember you need almost 1.2 grams of calcium in your diet every day to prevent bone damage.
5: Whole Grains over Processed flour every time
These are heart healthy items that every diet should have due to the increased fiber content. Choose whole grain breads, cereals and pastas for the maximum benefit.
At this stage in life, protein is very important. Protein is needed to support a healthy immune system and prevent the wasting of muscle. Since energy needs are less, older folks should eat high quality protein such as eggs, lean meats, poultry, and fish.
Fat intake for the elderly should be limited, not eliminated. You can limit fat by choosing lean meats, low fat dairy products, and food preparation methods that don’t include frying.
For the elderly, iron deficiency can be seen with those who aren’t eating much. Good sources for iron include lean red meats or breakfast cereals.
9: Vitamin B12
In order to absorb the benefits of B12, the intrinsic factor must be produced by the stomach. Most elderly people suffer from a deficiency in B12 because they have a condition known as atrophic gastritis.
This condition causes inflammation of the stomach, bacterial overgrowth, and the intrinsic factor. Without the intrinsic factor, this vitamin can be absorbed.
Each one of the above nutrients is needed to keep an aged body in good health. Elderly individuals should try to stay active and strive for a well-balanced diet.
Even though the aged body isn’t the same as it used to be, proper care and the right nutrients can help the elderly enjoy a healthy and long life.