Healthy Diet and Nutrition for Seniors

Life is a constant changing process. There is a constant change in mind, body, environment and surroundings and human body is no exception to this. Aging is a universal phenomenon. The nutritional needs get altered, as we grow old. Some ways, practices and healthy routine will not only help one to lead a healthy and constructive lifestyle but also will help in achieving long term goals.

Some of the reasons of improper diet among seniors are-

  • Change in lifestyle, physical factors and limited resources can create obstacles in well-planned diet among the senior citizens.
  • The physical activities gets curbed due to physical and medical reasons, disinterest in cooking can also affect their food habits.
  • There is a change in metabolism as a result a result fewer amounts of calories are burnt.
  • Sensitivity to taste and smell alters so most of the elders have loose their appetite.
  • Ailing patients and medication influence diet in a negative manner.
  • Aging affects the digestive system and less saliva and acid is produced to process the food resulting in constipation, inflammation, indigestion and heartburns.
  • Emotional factors, abuse and other trauma modifies the food habit.

Basic guidelines-

It is true that the elderly people have special requirement and periodic review of diet along with your doctor helps one to assess nutritional needs. Reduction in sodium, fatty foods, sugar, dry foods and more consumption of fibrous food, vitamin D, minerals, fluids, water and calcium alongside physical activity is recommended. The main focus should lie on eating efficiently without increasing calories. Fresh foods, fruits, vegetables, whole grain, nuts, legumes, poultry eggs, tofu and dairy products should be consumed. Keep away from highly processed and tinned foods as the have low nutrient value. One may evaluate their nutrient needs by consulting a doctor and dietician. The food should be appetizing, easy to prepare, chew, swallow and digest.

What kind of food should be consumed-

  • Whole grain like brown rice, whole wheat bread, oats, barley, millet are good. Avoid white flour products.
  • Increase your servings with raw fruits and vegetables. In this Fiber, vitamin, minerals and roughage are found in plenty. A green salad and desiccated vegetables can do the trick if one has problems with chewing.
  • Light steaming or light sauteing preserves the nutrients from excessive cooking and burning.
  • Protein is a good choice and a lot of variations are available in market.  Go on for low fat, low cholesterol nutrition in your diet and stay away from saturated fat.
  • Milk, cheese and yogurt have good calcium content. A fat free and low fat dairy is suggested for the seniors. Lactose intolerant seniors may opt for lactose free products.
  • Make use of good oils as olive oil, sunflower oil, nuts and avocado oil. Flush the toxins out of the body by consuming large quantities of water.

Some tips-

  • Trying and rotating and bringing variety may generate interest for eating among the seniors. Side dishes and simple desserts can satisfy ones taste buds.
  • Instead of eating alone going out, joining a senor meal program, inviting friends on pot lunches. This will add variety in your diet and broaden interests.
  • Food guide pyramid can help in choosing the best options and ways of eating.