Nutrition for Senior Adults

Posted on August 27, 2013 by ecrBayArea in Home Care Non-Medical

Submitted by: Robert Nations, Senior Helpers North Bay

The U.S. Census Bureau projects that in twenty years 21% of our population will be 65 years of age and older. The number of older adults will then exceed the number of children in America!

Good nutrition is more of a concern than ever before. The more we learn about aging and the importance of nutrition, the more we realize how a nutritious diet and regular exercise can help ensure the best quality of life long into our golden years. As we age, our metabolism slows and our digestive system changes. Illnesses, medications, loneliness and depression can alter our appetites. Decreasing physical activity levels can lead to weight gain which may cause numerous ailments. In order to remain energetic and active, we need to learn what older bodies need to function at their best.

Seniors have different nutritional requirements. Our bodies need high quality carbohydrates to fuel our energy and soluble and insoluble fiber to maintain proper digestion. Good sources include whole grains like brown rice, oats, whole wheat, rye and barley. These, plus plenty of vitamin-, mineral-, and antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies like apples, oranges, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, bell peppers, carrots and yams should make up the bulk of our diet. To keep bones and teeth strong, look to skim or low-fat milk, yogurt and cheeses. We also require adequate protein to maintain muscle mass and feed cognitive function, and a reduction in saturated fat calories for heart health and to avoid excess weight gain. Reducing red meat consumption in favor of leaner protein choices like tofu, beans, skinless poultry and fish is recommended. Eggs and nuts eaten in moderation provide healthier fat sources. Cooking oils should be low or unsaturated fat varieties such as olive, canola and sunflower. Unlike saturated fats, these oils will remain fluid if refrigerated.

“You are what you eat.” Throughout our lives, our bodies are constantly undergoing changes. Understanding how to feed these different stages of development can affect our ability to enjoy the years ahead, allowing us to preserve and share with others the wonderment we had as children, the creativity and involvement of our middle years, and the wisdom of our maturity.

Senior Helpers’ has caregivers trained in senior nutrition. They can prepare healthy meals for our in-home care clients and accommodate any special dietary requirements. Senior Helpers also offers cooking demonstrations in some communities. To learn more, please visit us at www.seniorhelpers.com.