The Ultimate Guide to a Healthy Diet for Seniors
Eighty-two percent of Americans residing in assisted living centers have at least one of these three chronic conditions:
- Heart Disease
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- High Blood Pressure
With the proper diet, the risk of developing at least two of those conditions decreases for seniors. But what does a proper diet for elderly people look like?
Keep reading to find out what a healthy diet for seniors looks like and how you can apply these senior nutrition tips today.
Choose Nutrient-Rich Foods
Following a nutrient-dense diet is important for everyone, young or old. In fact, following a balanced diet in your youth decreases your chances of developing illnesses as you age.
But following a balanced diet is even more imperative for seniors. As you age, your immune systems weakens. Your joints and muscles also take major hits.
Osteoporosis, for instance, plagues the elderly population at a high rate. About 70% of all bone fractures are sustained by the elderly population.
An ideal diet for seniors aims to decrease the likelihood of these types of injuries. In order to achieve that goal, elders should get plenty of:
- Protein from lean meats, beans, etc.
- Green, leafy vegetables
- Whole Grains
- Dairy or other sources of calcium and vitamin D
Stick to Recommended Portion Sizes
You also have to get your portion sizes under control. Controlling your portion sizes is essential for weight management.
Especially as an elder. Your metabolic rate changes as you age, which can make maintaining your weight more difficult.
Even if you’re consuming nutrient-dense foods, be careful about how much you consume. Three thousand calories of spinach may sound like a “healthy” choice, but your waistline would say otherwise.
Increase Your Water Intake
Most Americans are getting enough fluids each day.
Most of those fluids, however, is coming from juices and sodas. These drinks are calorie-dense and usually have no nutritive value.
Which is why they have no place in a diet for elderly people. When selecting food for elderly individuals, always prioritize nutrient-dense options. And water is the most essential nutrient.
Seniors who have a daily exercise routine should consume additional water.
Pay attention to Nutrition Labels
If you’ve ever purchased the low-fat version of your favorite food, there’s a good chance you’ve been conned. Because so-called “low-fat” foods often replace that fat with sugar.
Yes, these foods usually contain fewer calories. That added sugar, however, doesn’t have a positive impact on your health.
Start looking at those nutrition labels. These labels provide information about food items’ macros: protein, fat, and carbohydrates. They also provide info about the nutritive value of the product.
Selecting the Best Diet for Seniors
One of our top senior nutrition tips is simple — a one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition doesn’t work.
If you or an elder you know can’t eat dairy, find an alternative. Dairy isn’t the only source of vitamin D and calcium.
Don’t eat meat? No problem. Beans and eggs are also great sources of protein.
And if you find that you need some assistance with structuring a diet for seniors? Just contact Elderly Care Services. We’ll help you put together a healthy, personalized meal plan.