Healthy Diet For Seniors

How a Healthy Diet Can Help Seniors Live Longer and Stronger

Eating a proper diet is vital at any age to help us stay active and healthy but, for seniors, getting the right nutrition daily becomes even more important. A good diet provides numerous benefits, like helping build stronger bones and teeth, increasing cognitive function, aiding in digestion and keeping the body functioning as it should on the whole. Healthy diet for senior nutrition can also help reduce the risk for issues like heart disease, high blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent illness and diseases like diabetes, and promote higher energy levels.

Debunking Senior Nutrition Myths

Throughout the aging process, metabolisms do start to slow down. This means the level of activity seniors participate in can decline, which results in their bodies needing fewer calories to function as they should. However, even if the elderly’s appetite isn’t what it used to be, eating well later in life is still important. Better eating habits lead to feeling better and living longer and stronger.

One of the biggest myths surrounding senior nutrition is that as long as seniors are eating something, they’ll stay healthy. For instance, pre-packaged snacks and frozen dinners are generally high in sodium and fats, and too much of them can ultimately lead to malnutrition.

Also, it’s been proven that seniors who enjoy meals in a social setting tend to eat better than those who eat alone. When an elderly person is socially isolated, this can lead to depression and less of an inclination to cook a healthy meal for just one person. Or, when seniors don’t feel hungry, they may believe skipping a meal here and there is no big deal. However, this can lead to overeating when they do sit down to eat, which can actually further decrease their appetites altogether!

The Best Power Foods for Seniors

Several power foods are especially beneficial to senior health. Since these simple ingredients prevent cognitive decline, lower cholesterol, protect the heart and even prevent the onset of cancer, it is important to consider adding them to your diet plan.

Recent research reveals that certain types of food offer benefits above and beyond others. These “superfoods,” or “power foods,” aid in fighting disease, strengthening bones and boosting immunity, all of which can drastically improve quality of life.

A few examples of power foods for seniors include:

Blueberries contain a high level of antioxidants, which boost immunity by protecting cells from damage. Blueberries also help decrease brain damage due to stroke or dementia.

Whole grains
Whole grains help lower the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Plus, seniors who eat a healthy breakfast with plenty of whole grains feel fuller longer, so they are less likely to overeat throughout the day.

The omega-3 fatty acids in seafood like salmon and tuna help preserve bone density, reduce blood pressure, prevent heart disease, lower cholesterol and even reduce pain from arthritis.

Eggs are low in saturated fat and provide lutein, which can ward off macular degeneration. Plus, recent studies reveal that egg yolk, previously thought to be high in cholesterol, can actually slow cholesterol absorption.

Avocados are full of good, unsaturated fat plus plenty of fiber, vitamins C and B6, and folate, which can help decrease the risk of heart attacks.

Healthy Eating Tips for Seniors

As we age, our diet becomes increasingly important. To stay strong and maintain energy, our bodies need nutrients, vitamins and other essentials. A few healthy eating tips to help seniors live longer and stronger include:

  • Do some meal planning. To eat as healthy as possible, it is important to plan meals for the week ahead. Research some recipes ahead of time, and also prepare healthy snacks by pre-chopping veggies, portioning out plastic baggies with granola or nuts, or buying premade snacks like yogurt.
  • Keep taste buds in mind. If you enjoy a meal, you are more likely to eat it. Consider individual tastes and put a healthy spin on classic dishes. You could, for instance, substitute zucchini noodles for spaghetti.
  • Design a colorful plate. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables make a plate appealing to the eye, so don’t hesitate to add these options to each meal.
  • Spice it up. Changes in smell and taste are common throughout the aging process, making foods less appetizing. Instead of reaching for the salt shaker, try seasonings like vinegar, herbs, spices and lemon juice.
  • Try something new. We can all fall into food ruts, eating the same meals over and over again. Step outside your comfort zone by heading to a restaurant to try a new type of cuisine. It never hurts to mix things up a bit.

In Summary

The aging process often begins sooner than most people expect. In fact, one study says that your strength, endurance and balance are already beginning to fade by the time you reach your 50s. Fortunately, you can make certain lifestyle changes, including changes to your diet, to keep your mind and body strong.