10 Senior Nutrition Tips for Great Health in Old Ag10 Senior Nutrition Tips for Great Health in Old Age
When you’re beginning to age, it’s important that you keep up with your muscle tone and diet to maintain good health. Check out senior nutrition tips here.
As our bodies age, they require different types of food and nutrients to stay healthy. The ideal diet for a 3-year-old differs greatly from someone at 13 years old or 30 years old. The same applies to senior nutrition guidelines.
Great health in old age starts with healthy eating habits. Although this seems easy enough, studies show that 2 out of 3 seniors are at risk of malnutrition.
When you eat right, it helps you make the most of getting older. Keep reading for some great senior nutrition tips to avoid malnutrition and thrive in your later years.
The Top 10 Senior Nutrition Tips for a Long, Healthy Life
If you’ve reached senior citizen status, you’ve already lived a long life. Use these tips on elderly nutrition to make your life last even longer by staying healthy.
1. Limit Sodium Intake
Salt gets a bad rep, but you still need a daily dose of sodium chloride for your body to function correctly. Too little sodium impedes muscle contraction and nerve function. Too much sodium results in heart disease.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s senior nutrition guidelines, elderly U.S. adults should not consume more than 1,500mg of sodium per day.
Cut down on salt by avoiding pre-packaged meals like canned soups and breakfast cereals, as well as processed cheese or meats. Many condiments like ketchup and soy sauce also contain high levels of sodium. Be sure you check the nutrition label before you buy.
2. Avoid Added Sugar
Another thing pre-packaged meals and processed foods contain is added sugar. This is especially true of so-called “low-fat” and “diet” foods. Companies add sugar to make it taste better, but it actually makes it less nutritious.
Choose whole fruit and vegetables over juices or chips since they also contain fiber to aid digestion. Try to consume less than 50g of sugar every day.
3. Pay Attention to Portions
The old saying, “Everything in moderation,” definitely applies the types and amounts of food you eat. The number of calories you consume matters just as much as their types. The 5 biggest factors affecting how many calories you should eat as a senior are:
- Activity level
Most seniors do not need to eat as much as they did when they were younger. They also often prefer to consume several smaller meals throughout the day, rather than two or three big ones.
For women over the age of 50, aim for between 1600 and 2000 per day. For men over the age of 50, aim for between 2000 and 2800 calories per day. Again, this may vary if you need to lose or gain weight.
4. Consume More Protein
Incorporating more protein in your diet helps your cells repair faster and makes your immune system work better. Men and women over the age of 65 should try to consume at least 50g of protein every day.
Choose lean meats like pork, fish, or chicken for a high-protein ingredient. If you don’t like to eat meat, you can also consume eggs, nuts, beans, and seeds.
5. Eat a Variety of Foods
Senior digestive systems need more fiber to function correctly. As we get older, everything slows down a bit. Adding more fiber to your daily diet helps keep things moving and minimizes digestive complications.
The easiest way to add more fiber is to eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains. Mix it up and try not to eat the same types every day. Each fruit and vegetable offers a different set of nutrients and vitamins vital to your body’s survival.
6. Drink More Water and Other Liquids
Hydration is key for people of all ages, not just seniors. However, many seniors do not get enough fluids since your ability to sense thirst decreases as you age. By the time you feel thirsty, your body is already very dehydrated.
Aim to consume at least 64 ounces of fluid per day. Remember food with high water content will benefit you as much as drinking a glass of water. You can also try liquid nutritional supplements for elderly people as well.
7. Try Smoothies
Want an easy way to increase your fiber and liquid intake? Try smoothies! Pick up bags of your favorite frozen fruit and leafy greens like spinach.
Mix these together in a blender with some juice or milk for a tasty treat that’s easy to eat. Add in supplements like flax meal and chia seeds for more fiber and nutrients.
8. Eat Foods Rich in Calcium
Your diet directly affects the strength of your hair, skin, and bones. One of the most common diseases in seniors is brittle or weak bones, known as osteoporosis.
Incorporating more calcium-rich foods like broccoli, kale, almonds, and milk products into your diet strengthens your bones. This leaves you less prone to breaks and other injuries.
9. Socialize While Eating
Many seniors forget to eat or don’t bother to eat when they live alone. Make meals fun again by eating with friends or neighbors.
If you live in an assisted care facility, there are more opportunities to socialize while eating, but less control over food selection. Take a look around at the number of staff assisting with meal prep, the serving of food, and what help they offer for seniors who have difficulty eating.
The number of staff greatly impacts senior nutrition in an assisted living facility and you should learn more about how staff ratios affect care. Follow the link for more info.
10. Talk to Your Doctor
Before you make any changes to your diet, be sure you first speak with your doctor.
They can use lab tests to identify what nutrients you lack. They can also offer advice on what foods or supplements you should include or avoid in your diet based on these results.
More Great Nutrition Advice for All Ages
Now you should better understanding of the ideal diet for someone over age 65. Remember that although there’s a standard baseline for good nutrition, every body works differently. So use these senior nutrition tips as a starting point, but definitely speak to your healthcare provider before making drastic diet changes.
Want more great nutrition advice for all ages? Check out the Maxed Muscle blog with tons of articles on healthy eating and nutrition. Learn all about the newest health craze, the Ketogenic diet, and find some easy workouts to start building muscle.