Balanced Nutrition for Seniors to Stay Healthy and Active
Eating healthy, together with regular physical activity can help a person live an active life, more so in older age. As we get older, our nutritional needs, appetite, and food habits change in multiple ways. Proper diet and a healthy life a tied together, especially for older adults over the age of 50.
Common age related challenges are:
- Medication side effects
- Poor Dental health
- Physical Difficulty
- Memory Loss
- Decreased Sensitivity
In this blog we will explore common foods that are necessary to have a healthy life in older age.
Eat balanced diet of Fibre
Eating fibre-rich foods maintains regular bowel movement, lowers the risk of constipation and also lowers the risk of many chronic conditions such as heart disease, obesity and some cancers. Good sources of fibre include:
- 100% wholemeal or wholegrain bread
- Breakfast cereals such as porridge, shredded wheat
- Other cereals such as brown rice, brown pasta
- Potatoes eaten in their jackets
- Fruits and vegetables
- Pulse vegetables such as beans, peas and lentils
Breakfast can be a really good way to get a high fibre diet to start the day: Add linseed to a wholegrain cereal or to yoghurt or have prune juice to boost your fibre intake.
Foods rich in Calcium and Vitamin D
Older adults need balanced content of calcium and vitamin D to help maintain bone health. If our body doesn't get enough calcium in diet then it starts re-absorbing it from the bones which weakens the bones in older age. One should take three servings of vitamin D fortified milk, cheese, or yoghurt each day. Other calcium-rich meals include fortified cereals or dark green leafy vegetables.
Iron and Vitamin B12
Iron plays an important role of carrying oxygen around the body and vitamin B12 keeps brain and nervous system sound. The best sources of iron and vitamin B12 include white beans, spinach, soyabeans, green leafy veggies. Taking a vitamin C-rich food like orange juice at mealtime can help your body to absorb iron. Ask your doctor or dietitian whether you would benefit from an iron or a vitamin B12 supplement.
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Foods High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids help prevent prevent inflammation which can cause cancer, rheumatoid, arthritis, and even heart disease. Studies have shown that these fatty acids can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease. Flax seeds, soybeans, canola oil, and walnuts are common source of omega -3 fatty acids. Nutritionists recommend a serving of omega-3 fatty acids twice a week. Supplements can also be taken as per the advice of health consultant.
Potassium aids in cell functions, reduces blood pressure and lowers the chances of kidney stones. It is also strengthens bones. It is found in fruit and vegetables like bananas, prunes, and potatoes. While lack of potassium is a problem, too much of it is dangerous too, so doctor consultation is necessary before getting supplements.
About 60% of the magnesium in our body is found in bones, while the rest is in muscles, soft tissues and fluids, including blood . In fact, every cell in your body has it and needs it to function. Below are 5 main functions that magnesium regulates in our body.
- Energy creation: Conversion of food into energy.
- Protein formation: creation of new proteins from amino acids
- Gene maintenance: Creation and re-paring of DNA and RNA.
- Muscle movements: Contraction and relaxation of muscles.
- Nervous system regulation: Helps regulate neurotransmitters, which send messages throughout your brain and nervous system.
As we grow older, our body's ability to absorb magnesium decreases. It is mainly found in whole grains, nuts, fresh fruit, and vegetables.
SeniorVIG organizes regular sessions with health and nutrition experts who talk about health benefits of various meals, their right intake, and nutrition etc. You can also interact with brain experts, heart disease experts and many other consultants who can best advise senior citizens on healthy eating and live a long and happy life. For more details visit our homepage.
We should make an effort to eat healthy which ensures that we continue to enjoy an active lifestyle well even in older age. It's crucial to adhere to a well-balanced diet, especially so for older people as the body naturally weakens.