As we age, our dietary needs change. While a well-balanced diet is critical for everyone, it becomes increasingly important for older adults as we look to mitigate health risks. Let’s explore how eating a well-balanced diet which includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein is essential for living a healthy lifestyle for seniors.
In addition to these food groups, it is equally important to include critical nutrients in your diet. These nutrients are essential for your long term health, especially during your golden years.
Omega 3 – Studies have proven that Omega 3 helps to ward off heart disease. It is also effective for helping to prevent cancer, inflammation and even some types of arthritis. If you aren’t a fan of fish, consider alternatives such as walnuts, canola oil and even flaxseeds to add Omega 3 to your diet.
Calcium – As we age, our bodies need more calcium which can be found in foods like milk, leafy greens or fortified orange juice. While we know that calcium strengthens bones, it is also essential for maintaining healthy blood pressure.
Vitamin B12 – Vitamin B12 is important for healthy nerve function. It is also a key part of red blood cells and DNA. To boost your B12 naturally, enjoy foods like milk, eggs, fish and poultry.
Folate/Folic Acid – Essential for warding off anemia, most adults lack adequate folate levels. Just eating a bowl of fortified cereal or eating a large serving of vegetables, will give you these extra nutrients.
Vitamin D – Without Vitamin D, your body can’t absorb calcium which impacts bone density. Those with low Vitamin D levels may experience cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and other series conditions. To increase your Vitamin D, increase your daily exposure to the sun (and of course, wear sunscreen) or a supplement can be taken if that’s a more suitable option.
Potassium – Most people don’t get the recommended 4,700 mg each day. Did you know that potassium wards off kidney stones, high blood pressure and will keep you feeling healthy? By adding fruits like bananas and prunes into your diet, you can easily increase the amount of potassium into your daily food intake.
Magnesium – Magnesium is vital for your bones, heart and immune system. Unfortunately, with people eating more processed foods, magnesium levels are decreasing. It is critical to eat plenty of fresh foods and vegetables when possible.
Getting the proper nutrition and sticking with a balanced diet is difficult for many people. The more you educate yourself and evaluate your options, the better likelihood you will have to improve your diet and will be able to help prepare and plan meals for the seniors in your life. Meeting the nutritional needs for seniors is a risk that can be managed. If you need more information or would like to talk with us, please contact us at: www.smallalfcoalition.com/contact-us.