Special Nutrient Needs For The Elderly

Special Nutrient Needs For The Elderly

Why Nutrition For Seniors Is Necessary?

Including nutrient-rich vitamins and foods for seniors is crucial because as we age, the body is no longer able to make these important nutrients. Eating healthy can help some diseases as well such as osteoporosis, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and even certain cancers.

More Protein

It is very common to lose muscle and strength as one ages. It is a major cause of weakness that leads to fractures among the elderly. Simple ways to increase protein intake include lean meats, seafood, eggs, beans, and protein powder.

Added Fiber

A common health problem among older adults is constipation. At this age, patients are more likely to take medications with constipation as a side effect. Dietary fiber is proven to aid in regular bowel movements. Easy ways to up fiber intake include confusing whole grains such as wheat, corn, brown rice, and legumes.

Fruits And Vegetables

A lot of fruits and vegetables are considered superfoods, meaning they are excellent for an elderly’s diet. Being a superfood, they contain plant-based vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that an older adult may struggle to keep up with to promote healthy living.

Packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, and antioxidants, fruits such as blueberries, apples, cherries, and grapes provide great health benefits. With plenty of fiber and vitamins, vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, kale, and butternut squash are good options to make a colorful plate.

Calcium and Vitamin D

Calcium and Vitamin D are the most important nutrients for bone health. Unfortunately, the elderly absorb less calcium from their diets and thinner skin as one ages decreases the amount of vitamin D is made.

Dairy products and dark leafy greens are great sources of calcium. On the other hand, vitamin D is found in a variety of fish. Salmon is a popular option. If you are not fond of fish, you could opt for a fish oil supplement.

What To Do If You Or A Loved One Is Struggling To Eat Healthily?

Sometimes health problems, as well as mental health struggles, can make it harder for the elderly to eat healthily. Here are some tips to help you or a loved one maintain a balanced diet.

  • If an illness makes it hard for you to cook or feed yourself, check with your doctor. An occupational therapist may be able to help you find ways to make it easier. You may also be interested in purchasing precooked and portioned meals.
  • If you are tired of eating alone, perhaps try organizing meals with friends and family. Community centers and religious facilities often have meals as well.
  • If you are having trouble swallowing, try drinking plenty of fluids with your meal. If chewing is an issue, it may be time to visit a dentist.
  • If you do not have much of an appetite, try having smaller meals and healthy snacks multiple times a day.

A Balanced Diet

If you or your loved one are looking to further understand what makes a balanced meal, look into nutritional counseling. Our specialists not only offer nutritional counseling but can also recommend diet recipes for the elderly. Balance and moderation are key components in making a healthy plate for a senior.