Nutrition needs change as as we age. As an older adult, nutrition can affect appetite, immunity, energy, bone health, and memory. While good nutrition won’t prevent the signs of aging, it can certainly help us age better.
Besides just plain feeling better and having more energy, many chronic health conditions can be managed or even improved with healthier lifestyle choices.
As we age, our energy needs decrease, which means the need for overall calories decreases. At the same time, our need for healthy nutrition increases — so we need more nutritional bang for our buck in the calories we do eat.
5 keys to healthy senior nutrition:
Hydration becomes even more important in our older years. Ironically, our thirst sensation often decreases. This means we need to make drinking water a habit rather than waiting to feel thirsty. Keep water handy, in whatever type of cup or water bottle you’re likely to drink from throughout the day. Other beverages count, too, but do try to avoid sweetened or caffeinated drinks for most of your hydration.
2- a daily multivitamin
You need more vitamins and minerals than you’re likely to get in your daily meals. Look for a quality multivitamin made especially for senior adults. Consult your doctor to make sure there are no issues with any medications you may be on. You’ll want to look for one that does not contain Vitamin A because our body’s absorption of this vitamin increases with age and too much can cause issues. Also, before taking any vitamin with iron, make sure your iron levels are actually low because too much can be toxic.
Often, our body becomes more resistant to processing protein as we age so this means we need to eat more of it to do the same job. Aim for 4-5 palm-sized servings each day, though this need varies depending on your size. Try to eat a serving of protein at each meal. Good sources include lean meats, eggs, legumes, or greek yogurt.
One exception to these protein goals may be those with kidney conditions, so consult your doctor if you have kidney problems.
4- carbohydrates and fiber
Keep things – ahem – regular by consuming plenty of easy to digest, good-quality carbs. This includes fruits and veggies (try them cooked to make them softer if needed), legumes, oatmeal, and other whole grains.
No, it won’t make you fat. Yes, you need it.
Healthy fats can be found in avocados, fish, nuts, or olive oil. One serving of fats is small, about the size of your thumb. Aim for about 3 servings of healthy fats each day.
Good nutrition affects not only your longevity but also your quality of life for the years ahead.
Owner/Coach. Powered by tea, books, & sunshine. I help people build stronger, more resilient bodies — because fitness isn’t as much about what we do in the gym as what it helps us do beyond the gym.