Eating Healthy As We Age

August 19, 2017

Getting older isn’t easy, and ensuring proper nutrition can be challenging for individuals of any age. And because vitamin and mineral deficiencies are hard to track in older adults, it is very important to become more familiar with how to meet the body’s nutritional needs. The aging process changes how the human body assimilates and absorbs vitamins and, as one ages, dietary needs change. As a person grows older, metabolism slows, muscle mass diminishes, appetite fluctuates, bones become weak and brittle, and the body’s organs do not operate as efficiently. Disease becomes apparent and activities require more energy. However, good nutrition acts as a powerful intervention in the aging process. Eating a well-balanced diet is key to the prevention of chronic disease and dementia and ensures one will be healthy and strong for many years to come.

To guarantee a long and healthy life, seniors can make simple changes in their diet to prevent disease and increase energy. Below are some easy recommendations to follow for optimal senior nutrition:

Eat more fruits and vegetables with moderate amounts of whole grains and lean protein.
Reduce the amount of sweets in the diet. Seek to satisfy the sweet tooth by eating fresh or frozen fruits. In addition, adding whole grains in the form of barley, oats, and whole wheat will naturally reduce cravings for sweets.
Reduce sodium to control hypertension and prevent heart disease.
Eat almonds, vegetables, and leafy greens to get appropriate amounts of calcium to keep bones strong. If not lactose-intolerant, eat an ounce or two of raw cheese, preferably goat cheese, per day to increase intake of calcium.

Changing one’s lifestyle and diet can be overwhelming and discouraging so it is best to incorporate changes slowly. Choose one area of your diet to improve upon and once you become accustomed, move on to the next change. It is more important to have progress than perfection. Changing to a healthier diet will bring numerous benefits resulting in a better quality of life, less illness, and more independence. It is often said that you are what you eat, so by choosing simple, more nutrition-packed and less processed food, you will feel more energetic and light, both inside and out. When you feel good, you look good!

Editorial provided by Sarah Stout, Certified Clinical Nutritionist/Raw Foods Gourmet Chef at Reinventing Wellness.