Keeping yourself in good health is important at any age, but even more so as we grow older.
Your nutritional needs start to change as you age, making the importance of nutrients increase. As the body changes, so does the risk of nutritional deficiencies, which can affect social, mental, and physical health if you are not careful.
This is why it is important to provide your body with the right kind of nutrients and maintain a healthy weight so that you can remain independent and active as you age. This can also prevent and improve symptoms of chronic diseases, like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The Importance of Nutrients – Physical Changes in Older People
Our bodies start to change as we grow with age. However, these changes may not always be apparent to the eye. Older adults go through physical changes that affect their nutritional needs.
Some of these changes will include :
Burning calories at a slower rate
Our appetite is lower.
Our muscle mass naturally reduces.
Our bone density starts to shrink.
The body’s ability to absorb the vitamins we put in our system decreases
Due to these changes, older adults have to shift their nutritional needs. Here are a few tips on how they can do that :
Consume fewer calories during the day, like snacking on things like fruits, vegetables and nuts.
Figure out ways to incorporate more nutrient rich foods into your diet, like adding extra leafy greens to your soup or salad.
Eat smaller meals more often.
Include high-quality protein in their diet, like eggs, beans, lean meat or smoothies with protein powder.
Get a sufficient amount of vitamin D and calcium.
Consume foods fortified with vitamin B-12, such as bran flakes, tuna, hard-boiled eggs or cottage cheese.
Choose the Right Kind of Nutrients as We Age
As we grow older, our nutritional needs start to change, along with the kind of food and quantities we require on a daily basis.
Consuming healthy food is the best way to get the important nutrients you need. All you have to do is figure out what kinds of foods you would like to eat, and make a list, so you are sure to always have them on hand.
Here are some guidelines to follow to ensure that you or your aging loved ones get all the important nutrients they need, to make sure they have a good quality of life:
Lean protein: 5 to 7 ounces every day, including eggs, beans, seafood, and meats.
Fruits: 1.5 to 2.5 cups of fruits.
Vegetables: 2 to 3.5 cups of vegetables.
Whole grains: 5 to 10 ounces, including whole-wheat pasta or brown rice.
Calcium: 3 servings of low-fat sources, such as milk, cheese, yogurt, tofu, and other non-dairy options.
In addition, older adults should not consume more than 5 to 8 teaspoons of oil on a daily basis. Their diet should also only include small amounts of added sugars, fats, and salt each day, and should limit the amounts of processed foods being eaten. By adding different seasonings and fresh herbs like cinnamon or a garlic blend to your meals, you will be cutting out the fats and calories, but keeping the flavour.
How to Make Sure You Get Nutritional Needs as You Grow Older
Making sense of varying nutritional needs can be overwhelming. However, here are some ways to make this process easier:
Plan healthy meals in advance: By following some guidelines in this article, you can meal prep days in advance so that you do not spend too much time thinking about what to eat, and will always have nutritious meals at your fingertips when you are hungry and won’t find yourself reaching for processed foods like chips or cookies.
Eat with loved ones: Meals are a wonderful way to socialize with loved ones. Ask your family or friends to spend some time with you each day during lunch or make plans to have dinner together.
Consult a doctor: Since nutritional needs change as you grow older, consult your doctor. This way, any nutritional deficiencies you may have will be kept in check.
If you wish to live a long and healthy life, it is important to see the value in the importance of nutrients we need to fuel our body with. Please feel free to check out our other blogs to help along the way.