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How Important Is Diet for Seniors


January 14, 2019 in: Senior Health

No matter your age, eating a balanced diet ensures your future will be healthy and have fewer health complications. A nutritious meal helps you stay energized, maintains your weight, and lowers your risk of developing chronic health conditions.

As we age, our bones and muscles become weak. This is natural and while it cannot be prevented, it can be slowed down to live a quality life. This is why it is important to eat well.

How Senior Health Is Affected

  1. Appetite and Metabolism – slows down as you age
  2. Absorption of Nutrients – important nutrients are absorbed in lower rates
  3. Less Caloric Intake – eating foods containing fewer nutrients

Let’s have a look at how a senior citizen’s diet habits and needs change with age.

Calories

As people age, the number of calories they consume decreases. The lower the calorie intake, the less energy they have, which leads to joint and muscle problems. As the person becomes less mobile, fewer calories are burned. Lack of physical activity lays the groundwork for other health problems that lead to Sarcopenia and a loss of muscles mass. Finally, the metabolism rate slows down and thus the need for calories also decreases. Since there’s a loss of appetite, any food consumed must be full of nutrients and one that is easily digestible.

Appetite

When talking about diet for seniors, the loss of appetite is quite common. As mentioned throughout this article, when caloric intake decreases and metabolism slows down, the need to eat reduces. To prevent muscle loss, which is the most common symptom of aging, the intake of proteins, Vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and creatine should be increased. The latter two can be taken in the form of supplements such as fish oil capsules and creatine solution. Vitamin D food items include cheese, egg yolk, and fatty fish such as tuna, mackerel, and salmon. Last but not least, the protein includes lean meats, beans, seafood, nuts and seeds, low-fat dairy, and eggs.

Medical Conditions

As mentioned earlier, aging leads to a lot of chronic health problems that affect the entire body. For example, if a person is diagnosed with diabetes, he or she should avoid foods that contain processed sugar.

  • Organ Function: stomach, kidneys, eyes, and liver
  • Brain Function: cognitive ability and memory
  • Managing Chronic Illnesses: dementia, high blood pressure, cancer, and diabetes
  • Immune System: Strengthens and promotes proper healing
  • Bone and Muscle Health: maintaining mobility, preventing falls and fractures and boosting strength, posture, and flexibility

If you have a senior loved one living at home with you, then it’s time to make changes in his or her diet. We are big on overall wellbeing, we've written about the importance of gut health here.

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