As people age, their nutritional needs change. Some may not be able to consume the same foods, or in the same quantities as as they could when they were younger and perhaps healthier. Too much sodium, sugar or fats can wreak havoc on the human body as people age.
6 Healthy Eating Tips for Seniors to Follow
Fiber for Heart Health
A diet high in fiber, including fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains, can help reduce cholesterol and keep the digestive system regular. The only caution with fruits and vegetables is that if the stomach is sensitive to certain fruit acids, such as those found in tomatoes or citrus fruits, this may cause some discomfort, but overall, vegetables and fruits should be consumed as much and as often as possible. Fruits and vegetables contain high plant fiber which helps cleanse the bowels and helps maintain a healthy blood glucose level, keeping early onset of diabetes at bay.
When most people think of protein, they may immediately think of a thick, juicy steak. For those so inclined, they may still enjoy steak as they age, but they may also want to consider lighter white meat alternatives, such as pork, chicken and turkey, which are lean protein that promotes muscle strength and keeps muscle fibers from deteriorating. Grilled preparation is tasty and fast, and is a healthy alternative to fried meats. For those who would like to try a meat-free alternative, soy protein and nuts are another great way to add healthy protein and fiber into the diet.
Stay Away From “bad” Carbohydrates
Bad carbs, also called “simple” carbohydrates, are ingredients like refined sugar, white rice, and white flour that have been stripped of most of its nutrients, bran and fiber. “Bad” carbohydrates break down fast, shoots up your blood insulin levels, and give you a short burst of energy that will eventually crash. To get long lasting levels of energy and steady blood insulin levels, opt for complex carbs. For example, whole-grains, legumes, fresh fruits, and vegetables.
Watch out for Sugar
You may be getting more sugar than you think from familiar foods like pasta sauces, breads, canned soups, and frozen dinners. Check the nutrition labels on your food for alternative names for sugar like fructose, sucrose, dextrose, maltose, and corn syrup. Pick frozen or fresh vegetables rather than canned goods, low carbohydrate or sugar free products.
Younger people need the calcium in dairy to support growing bones and muscle health. Because dairy products are high in fat, aging bodies may not metabolize this fat as easily as it did when someone was younger. Those at high risk for heart disease, or people who suffer from high blood pressure, may want to avoid dairy-rich foods to keep their arteries clearer to promote healthy blood flow. Too much fat in your diet may also make it difficult for the liver to function properly, so it may be best to avoid dairy as much as possible.
Lower Sodium Intake
People who suffer from high blood pressure should lower their sodium intake, whether this means to avoid salt or avoiding processed foods. Many convenience and processed foods contain high amounts of salt, so read the labels carefully and keep a healthy weight and blood pressure in mind.
As always, hydration is important, no matter what your age. Drink more water throughout the day to help flush toxins from your body and help your body to cool down on a hot day. Water is healthy for the skin, kidneys, and the body overall, so water is always a good option as a beverage.
The key to a healthy life as a senior citizen is in staying active and eating a balanced diet. With adequate care and required nutrition, ensure you follow the above healthy eating tips for seniors and your retirement years will become a boom and not a bane. Try to live as healthy as possible and remember to see your doctor for your health check.