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5 Healthy Eating Tips for Seniors

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healthy_eating_for_seniorsAs we age, our metabolism tends to slow down, making it harder to maintain a healthy diet.

While physical activity can curb some changes to our bodies, it’s also important to be mindful of what we consume, especially as we get older.

For a list of healthy eating tips to nourish your senior loved one’s mind, body and soul, continue reading below.

1. Drink Plenty of Water 

Did you know seniors are at greater risk for dehydration because of how their body composition changes with age? Knowing older adults have less water in their bodies, it’s important to prioritize hydration.  

It’s recommended seniors drink four to six glasses of water each day to:

  • Aid digestion.
  • Carry nutrients to cells.
  • Flush bacteria from the body.
  • Maintain electrolyte balance.
  • Normalize blood pressure.
  • Prevent constipation.
  • Protect organs and tissues.
  • Regulate body temperature.
  • Stabilize heartbeat.

By increasing water intake, seniors can boost their cognitive health, which impacts the brain’s ability to clearly think, learn and remember.

2. Consume Nutrient-Rich Foods 

As we get older, our bodies have different needs, so certain nutrients are especially important for good health.

Consuming a wide variety of foods will ensure your senior loved one is getting all of the nutrients they need. For seniors, these include:   

  • Calcium to build and maintain health bones (leafy green vegetables, as well as dairy products).
  • Fiber to promote proper digestion (wholegrain bread and pasta).
  • Potassium to aid in cell function (bananas and potatoes).
  • Magnesium to keep your immune system strong (whole grains, nuts and seeds).
  • Vitamin C to prevent heart disease (fruits and vegetables).
  • Vitamin D to maintain and protect bone density (cereal, milk, yogurt and juice).
  • Vitamin B12 to preserve nerve function (dairy and poultry products).

Taking in these nutrients regularly will help seniors maintain a balanced diet.

3. Read Nutrition Labels 

When shopping for groceries, make sure to read nutrition labels. Doing so will make it easier for you to find foods that have the nutritional value your loved one needs.

It will also help him or her make healthy choices about the food they consume. When choosing among different brands or products, compare labels and pick foods with less saturated fat. Limit the amounts of added sugar and sodium when possible.

4. Reduce Salt Consumption

Aging can play a role in the loss of taste and smell. This often results in seniors over-salting foods. Unfortunately, consuming too much salt can lead to serious health complications, including heart disease.

Make sure your loved one is not consuming more than 2,300 milligrams of salt every day. This is equivalent to roughly one teaspoon.

Herbs and spices are healthier alternatives that pack a flavorful punch. Consider adding basil, cayenne, rosemary, stage or thyme when you cook.

5. Plan Your Meals Out in Advance

When we’re hungry, we tend to eat whatever we can get our hands on the fastest. Meal planning eliminates this issue by having a balanced meal at your senior loved one’s fingertips. This not only helps to avoid unhealthy options, but it also saves time and money. No longer do you have to stress about making dinner at night. Nor, do you have to worry about wasting food.

Meal planning also helps with portion control. You can measure out the appropriate serving size to prevent your loved one from overindulging.  

Caring for a Senior Loved One? Get Family Caregiver Resources Sent Straight to Your Inbox

Keeping an eye on your aging loved one’s health can be a daunting task. In an effort to make your job easier, we created Caregiver Conversations, our monthly newsletter with resources across topics like senior care plans, self-care tips and more.

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Cathy Nichols
Cathy Nichols
Considers it an honor as a Certified Celebrant to listen to life stories, and then design and conduct meaningful tributes. Cathy also trains celebrants nationally, equipping them to share those legacies in ways that comfort and enlighten. Honorably serving Busch families since 2004.
 

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