Aging Nutrional Needs

November 17, 2014

Food is fuel. We all have our favorite dishes, go-to meals and snacks. But just as our bodies change over time, our fuel needs change, too. Take a minute to think about your daily diet. Is it time for a tune-up?

Eat less food, make better choices.

Our bodies metabolism slows as we age. Coupled with the fact that we often move less, this means that we typically don’t need as many calories as we once did. In fact, someone in elderly care at 80 years old would need almost 20 percent fewer calories than a 30-year-old. Eat less, but make better food choices. This is especially important for people undergoing physical therapy or rehabilitation. Don’t waste valuable calories on empty snacks or side dishes.

Increase fiber and fluids.

Fiber is known for keeping our systems running smoothly, reducing the risk of heart problems and helping to control blood sugar levels. Fiber from whole grains, raw vegetables and fruits can help you meet these ongoing needs. But don’t forget the water. Our bodies produce less fluid as we age, so we must drink more water and non-caffeinated beverages. Even foods with high water content like cucumbers, berries, melons, and greens like lettuce and spinach can help hydrate your system.

Eat good fats and lean proteins to fuel your day.

For a real energy boost, make sure your meals and snacks include healthy fats and lean proteins. Our retirement communities like Doverwood Village offer many such choices in our cafés and fine dining areas. Fatty fish like albacore tuna and salmon along with lean proteins like chicken, beans, and eggs are all excellent examples for your diet. Snacks like walnuts or pumpkin seeds also are a great option.

Take your vitamins.
Depending on your health, vitamins and supplements may be a necessary part of your daily diet. As we age, our bodies do not process or absorb nutrients as efficiently as they used to. For example, we can get vitamin D from sun exposure and from some of the foods we eat. But as we age, many of us do not get the levels of vitamin D our bodies really need. Talk with your physician or caregiver about the vitamins that may be right for you.

What can you do to maintain you or your loved ones goal of independent living? Every body needs maintenance, and filling up with the right nutrition for your stage in life will help keep you healthy and active as you enter each new season. 

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