Good nutrition for seniors provides numerous benefits. Those include improved mental acuteness, a stronger immune system, increased energy and the ability to manage chronic health problems, among others.
Eating well is the key to an emotionally balanced, mentally sharp, vibrant retirement. However, it’s not always easy to make the proper choices for a well-balanced lifestyle.
Certain barriers crop up as we age that can make it difficult to achieve balanced nutrition. Our metabolism decreases, our sense of taste and smell diminish and our digestive systems begin to break down. All are factors that can lead to an unbalanced diet.
As our metabolism decreases, it becomes crucial to choose nutrient-dense, low-fat, low-sodium foods that are high in fiber. That way, we get the most mileage out of each meal. Plus, as we age, we need fewer total calories, meaning we need to focus more on quality than quantity, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
In addition, emotional problems and certain medications can negatively affect our eating habits. This is why the right approach to nutrition for seniors can be so critical to overall wellness.
Consider What and How You Eat
There are certain nutritional choices that every individual should consider when focusing on a healthy diet:
– Nutrient-rich foods with a moderate to low calorie and fat content
– Plenty of raw fruits and vegetables
– “Good” carbohydrates such as brown rice and whole wheat bread
– Lean proteins such as fish, poultry, eggs, nuts and tofu
– Calcium-rich dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt
– “Good” fats from nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocados
Calcium and vitamin D, for example, are essential to help maintain bone health, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Meanwhile, fiber-rich foods can help lower the risk for heart disease, control weight and prevent Type 2 diabetes. Potassium may lower the risk of high blood pressure, and vitamin B12 is also important.
Making healthy choices doesn’t mean engaging in extreme diets or drastic weight losses, though. Fad diets often get rid of entire food groups, which results in nutrient gaps. And rapid weight loss may lead to a loss of lean body mass, which is the exact opposite of what good nutrition for seniors really entails. Most older adults should simply strive for a stable weight.
Along with choosing the right foods, an inviting atmosphere and certain dining habits can also play a role in promoting proper nutrition for seniors. A healthy plate should be appealing to the eye and palate. And dining with family, friends and neighbors can lead to a healthier appetite.
At The Clare, we make it simple by offering flexible dining options that provide carefully selected menus and professionally prepared meals to promote healthful eating. Residents can enjoy The Grafton, The Bistro, dinner delivery and outside dining when the weather permits.
The Clare recognizes that proper nutrition yields countless benefits for our residents and guests. Our executive chef and the culinary team can cater to individual needs and tastes, and our unique dining options make healthy choices easy.