Seniors and Healthy Diets
Everyone benefits from healthy eating, but as you age, it’s especially beneficial to maintain a nutritional diet to assure healthy aging. This is due to your body and mind changing as you get older, along with various health problems based on each individual.
As you age, your nutritional needs and food habits can change. It’s important to recognize these changes and adjust your diet accordingly.
Some of the changes can include:
Some of these changes might require specific diet needs; however, there are general guidelines for a healthy diet that most people can abide by. A diet change might sound difficult, but in reality, you just need to swap certain food choices with healthier options. In order to have a well-rounded diet, you have to understand which types of foods are the healthiest for your body.
A healthy diet includes:
Eating meals that contain a variety of nutrients will help you get the vitamins and minerals that your body needs for healthy aging, energy, brain health, and prevention of illnesses. Make sure that the majority of your calories are coming from nutrient-rich foods.
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Lean protein
- Low-fat dairy
- Nuts and seeds
- Beans and lentils
Foods with Protein
- Dairy products
Fewer calories/more protein
In addition to eating nutrient-rich foods, it’s recommended that you consume less calories and have a higher intake of lean protein. When it comes to meat, it should always be lean. Eating the fat on meat can damage your cholesterol.
Note that it’s important to have smaller portion sizes, especially with meat. Lowering your caloric intake of saturated fats will keep you healthier.
Healthier packaged foods
It can be difficult to consistently eat fresh, homemade meals and snacks; however, there are healthy options for quick and easy meals. You should always check the labels on packaged foods and make sure to choose ones that contain less added sugar, saturated fat, and salt, and more fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Healthy Packaged Foods
- Frozen or canned vegetables or fruits
- Canned soups
- Instant oatmeal
- Bagged salads
- Fish: salmon, tuna, and mackerel
- Walnuts, almonds, and pistachios
- Greek yogurt
It is also good to understand what types of foods contain healthy fats. Your body needs healthy fats in order to lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease and contribute to healthy aging. Healthy fats can also assist in metabolism improvement and weight loss.
You may want to consider taking a vitamin or mineral supplement if you lack certain nutrients in your diet. There are certain vitamins that aren’t recommended for seniors, such as calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and vitamin B-12. Be sure to ask your doctor before taking any of these supplements, and get a recommendation on which vitamins you should and can take.