A Dose Of Health For The Elderly: What To Eat and What Not To Eat
October 7, 2020
A Golden Diet For The Golden Days
When we are young, we eat healthy by choice, but as we age, it becomes a necessity. However, contrary to what is necessary, people entirely give up the idea of healthy eating as they age. Many of the elderly population continue to eat unhealthy food because they haven’t been able to tame their food buds according to their age and health conditions.
Their situation is further exacerbated by age-related factors like weakening of bodily functions, the onset of chronic illnesses, decreased appetite, as well as common problems like heart problems, blood pressure, diabetes, etc.
As per the reports shared by the Natural Resource Center on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Aging, one in every four older Americans has poor nutrition. This explains why half of the older adults in the USA are at risk of malnutrition.
If you have entered the golden years of your life, eating healthy food should top your priority list. It keeps you energized, helps you maintain weight, strengthens your muscles and bones, boosts your immunity, and prevents chronic health conditions.
Read on to know how you can maintain a healthy diet.
*Include colored fruits and vegetables in your diet
Including fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet is a good place to start. A simple thing like eating 2 to 3 servings of fruits will fill your nutrition bank. Eat deeply colored fruits like blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, mangoes, melons, papaya, peaches, raspberries, and strawberries.
Coming to vegetables, include vegetables like asparagus, beetroot, bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, collard greens, kale, pumpkin, romaine lettuce, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, tomatoes, and turnip greens in your diet.
Give a tasty twist to these plain vegetables by adding olive oil, goat cheese, and your favorite seasonings. Look for more such health recipes for the elderly on the Internet to make your meals tasty and healthy.
*Eat healthy fats
Not all kinds of fats are bad. Good fats, like omega-3s and unsaturated fats, safeguard your mental health and elevate mood. Bad fats, like saturated fats and artificial trans fats, cause clogged arteries, weight gain, and increased susceptibility to certain diseases.
Eat good fats. Foods like nuts, olives, peanut butter, avocados, flax seeds, fatty fish, soy milk, and tofu are rich sources of good fats.
*Eat calcium for strong bones
Aging takes its toll on bone health. It weakens your bones and makes you vulnerable to bone fractures and osteoporosis. Hence, it is very important to load the stores of calcium in the body.
Calcium isn’t just important for your bone health. Your muscles, cardiac system, and nervous system also require calcium to function properly.
Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt and non-dairy products like almonds, kale, broccoli, and tofu are rich sources of calcium.
*Be wise when eating protein
Eating high-quality protein is linked with better mood and enhanced resistance to depression, anxiety, and stress. It also boosts your immune system, respiratory system, and cardiovascular system. Overall, it helps in maintaining your health in your senior years.
However, you should always choose protein wisely. Eating processed meat products, like salami, bacon, and hot dogs to meet your body’s protein needs can cause several health issues. Instead of eating too much red meat, include other high-quality protein sources like fish, chicken, turkey, skim-milk, cheese, yogurt, beans, tofu, soy products, and nuts in your diet.
*Fiber for better digestion
As you age, the functioning of your digestive system deteriorates and hence, fiber should always be a part of your regular diet. It reduces the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases and initiates weight loss.
Men over 50 years of age should eat 30 grams of fiber every day, while women should eat 21 grams of fiber per day.
Cereals (bran flakes, oatmeal, shredded wheat), vegetables (green beans, spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrot), fruits (orange, banana, pear, apple, strawberry), legumes (lentils, kidney beans, green peas), grains (wheat bran, brown rice, barley), nuts (peanuts, walnuts) and dried fruits (raisins, plums, apricots) are rich sources of fiber.
The Bottom Line
Your diet is directly proportional to the quality of your life. If you eat a healthy diet, you will spend the golden years of your life in bliss. But, if your diet is compromised, gear up to welcome misery.
Include the above-listed food items in your diet and make your life a smooth sail.