As we age, we become even more susceptible to malnutrition. We also may experience age-related conditions that call for changes in our diets. Improve your overall health and decrease your risk for chronic conditions by focusing on your food.
What To Eat
Certain nutrients become even more important to consume as we get into our golden years. For bone health, seniors are advised to eat a good amount of calcium and vitamin D. Sources of these include dark green veggies and fatty fish, respectively. Both of these foods also provide B-vitamins, which are essential for cognitive and cardiovascular health.
In addition to plenty of fruits and vegetables, proteins, whole grains and dairy products are recommended for a well-rounded diet. Change up your protein consumption with fish, eggs and legumes. Aim to eat at least one serving of whole grains and three servings of low-fat, vitamin-D-fortified dairy products per day.
What Not To Eat
Not only should you pay attention to what needs to be on your plate; it’s important to know what to keep off of it. Limit your intake of saturated fats to keep your cholesterol levels in check. Saturated fats can be found in butter, fatty red meats and whole milk. Substitute your shortening with heart-healthy olive oil, and stick to lean meats and low-fat milk.
Additionally, seniors are encouraged to reduce their salt consumption. Salt is a major culprit of high blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease, stroke and other health problems. Adults over the age of 51 should limit themselves to 1,500 mg – about 3/4 teaspoon – of salt per day.
St. Joseph Health’s MatureWell Lifestyle Center offers a free Healthy Cooking Program, featuring recipes specifically designed to meet the nutritional needs of maturing adults. Request a tour of the first-of-its-kind facility today.
WHO - Nutrition for older persons
Texas A&M University Health Science Center - Nourished Bodies, Active Minds: Keys To Healthy Aging
NIH - National Institute on Aging - Vitamins & Minerals