Elderly nutrition can feel as if it is overlooked when you review diet recommendations and nutrition advice. However, senior nutrition is certainly a very important aspect of your overall health as you continue to age.
While exercise is a vital factor in maintaining your mobility and independence, your nutritional habits will also have a big impact on your longevity and your body’s ability to fight illnesses and to recover from injuries. Staying fit and active, plus eating right for your age, are not to be overlooked at all, but especially in your later years.
Nutrition for older adults can follow the same general advice as younger adults, but you must also remember your body’s unique needs as you age. The best diet for seniors, however, is not one of those fad diets that will come and go quickly with the younger population. Eating right is not about denying yourself the things you enjoy, but rather it is choosing to feed your body more of what it needs in order to stay healthy, while finding a balance you enjoy and can sustain.
Healthy eating for seniors should be focused on getting the right vitamins and nutrients your body needs to function at its best. While younger folks might worry about how they look or the number on the scale, seniors know that good health is the primary concern over vanity. Eating right is all about providing your body with the strength it needs to fight off infections, to keep you moving and active, and to ensure you can stay as happy and healthy as possible for as long as possible.
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Senior nutrition requires fewer calories than younger adults may need. This means it is even more important that you make sure to include all the vitamins and minerals your body needs in the smaller quantity of food you intake. The value of your food is much higher as you age. With less overall food being eaten you want to make sure you choose your food carefully.
Before drastically changing your diet as a senior, always consult with your doctor. This is especially important if you already have any medical conditions or concerns. Make sure you know what your body needs and understand that your needs might differ from others’ your age. Also check with your doctor regarding exercise and physical activity, since diet and exercise go hand-in-hand toward your long-term health and happiness.
Nutrition advice for older adults holds to the standard advice given to everyone: Eat the rainbow! Your goal should always be to eat a colorful array of natural produce and grains, without adding lots of extra stuff into your diet. Try to focus on these foods in particular:
Healthy nutrition for seniors is also all about portion control. If you think back to growing up and being a young adult, you probably remember the smaller portion sizes we had back then. Remember that if you go out to eat or even eat with friends and family. Portions have grown tremendously in the U.S., which has contributed to the overall obesity problem in the country. Make sure you recognize a smaller portion as the right size for you and do not feel the need to overeat or overfill your plate at every gathering.
A healthy diet for elderly adults means getting the vitamins and minerals you need from a variety of food sources, and then perhaps supplementing your diet with additional vitamins. You want to especially make sure you receive plenty of Vitamin D and Vitamin B12. Government guidelines suggest adults 50 years of age and older get at least 2.4 mcg of B12 each day. Guidelines also suggest that adults 70 years of age and older get 800 International Units (IU) of Vitamin D each day. Additionally, adults older than 50 years of age should reduce their salt intake to about 2/3 of a teaspoon each day, since too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure.
Other than vitamin intake, senior nutrition should focus on balance. Remember these tips and try to find the right nutritional balance for your lifestyle:
The best diet for seniors is filled with colorful, fresh produce and plenty of protein that is packed with vitamins and nutrients. Smaller portions mean you should still eat several meals each day, and each meal should have a rainbow of color involved. Don’t worry about the latest fad diet that all the kids are talking about, just stick to good old-fashioned healthy food. The more natural it is, the better it is for your body.
It is important to consider what to eat as a senior in evaluating your overall health as you age. Many illnesses and injuries can be altogether avoided or their impacts can at least be mitigated through proper nutrition. Make sure you take care of yourself and provide the right nutrients your body needs as you age. Enjoying treats and sweets is still an option. But just make sure you find the right balance to ensure your health in the long term.
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