As we age, eating healthily becomes increasingly important. Not paying attention to one’s nutrition can lead to nutrient deficiencies, decreased quality of life, and poor health outcomes. Luckily, there are many nutrition tips for loved ones to follow to prevent deficiencies and other age-related issues.
Why Is Nutrition Important to Aging?
Our dietary requirements shift as we get older; a nutrient-dense diet with less intake becomes increasingly vital. A quality diet is linked to one’s overall health. For those already experiencing health conditions, your diet can still make a difference.
However, this can be challenging to achieve. Aging is often accompanied by general oral health decline and a reduced ability to swallow, on top of changes in taste and smell and a loss of appetite. Further, mobility constraints can make opening containers, lifting heavy things, and shopping for food difficult. Therefore, knowing a few nutrition tips for loved ones is helpful.
What Nutrients Are Essential for Aging Individuals?
Everyone should aim to eat a diversity of foods so the body is receiving a variety of nutrition. These staples can help to prevent deficiencies:
As we age, our gastrointestinal tract changes, making it harder to process food and absorb nutrients, vitamins, and other minerals your body needs. Including high-fiber foods in one’s diet will help to prevent issues like constipation and nutrient deficiencies.
Since age-related muscle loss speeds up past 60, not taking in enough protein to make up for that muscle loss in our daily diet is massively detrimental to one’s health. It’s recommended that older adults eat double the amount of protein they normally would in their youth.
We naturally absorb less calcium as we age, which makes a critical difference to our bone health.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common problems older individuals face. It is critical to have a regular intake of oily fish like sardines, mackerel, salmon, or other enriched foods.
- Vitamin B-12
Folate or B-12 deficiency is common among older adults, so it’s recommended they take a supplement to aid absorption by the body. You can also find this vitamin in eggs, dairy, and meat.
Nutrition Tips for Your Loved Ones
On top of knowing what to eat, you should also understand how to eat. Minimizing processed food and salt intake with all your meals should be a priority, even though it can be difficult. These foods are usually high in calories but have no nutritional value. Next, depending on the amount of physical activity you get and the weather you live in, drinking at least six to eight glasses of water a day is essential to keep your body hydrated.
The best way to keep track of your diet is to put together an action plan with a medical professional and to have an accountability partner to help you stay on track.
Why Choose The Summit?
Your loved one having difficulties with eating as they age need not discourage them from getting quality nutrition. At The Summit, residents enjoy nutritious and delicious meals in the Sensations dining room.