The Importance of Nutrition as We Age

Healthy eating and good nutrition are important throughout our lives. As seniors, we tend to eat less and be less energetic. Supporting our daily nutritional needs and maintaining a healthy weight helps older adults stay active and independent. It also offsets some of the physical effects of aging.

Why Maintaining Good Nutrition is Important for Seniors

There are physical changes that come with aging, including metabolism changes and a loss of muscle and bone mass. These are an inevitable part of getting older. But this, combined with poor health and poor nutrition, can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions. It’s worth it to make an effort to eat healthy, nutritious foods and remain as active as possible. Healthy eating can help keep you independent longer and can lead to less time and money spent at the doctor.

It’s never too late to incorporate healthier food choices into your diet. Making some simple changes to the foods and drinks you consume will help make a difference in your health and well-being.

Make Every Bite Count: Choose Foods with High Nutritional Value

According to the National Institute of Aging, enjoying a variety of foods from each food group helps reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases.

  • Lean protein: Eating protein each day prevents the loss of muscle mass. Whenever possible, choose to eat lean meats, seafood, eggs, beans, peas, and lentils.
  • Fiber: To help regulate the body’s use of sugars and lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer, eat more fiber. Fiber is found in many fruits and vegetables, such as beans, squash, cauliflower, berries, and more. Eat vegetables with every meal to ensure you gain the nutritional benefits of fiber.
  • Whole grains: According to the Mayo Clinic, whole grains provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals that offer a host of benefits to control cholesterol, weight, and blood pressure. Whole grains can lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Eat more brown, black, red and wild rice, oatmeal, whole wheat pastas, and whole wheat breads.
  • Beverages: With age, it’s still important to stay hydrated to aid in the digestion of food and absorption of nutrients. Keep it simple. Drink plain water or seltzer with lemon, lime, or orange. Natural beverages like milk and juice can also keep you hydrated. Enjoy yourself but try to limit beverages that have a lot of added sugars or salt. 
  • B12:  Vitamin B12 keeps the body’s blood and nerve cells healthy. But with age, our body’s ability to absorb B12 decreases. Poultry, eggs, milk, and breakfast cereals contain B12. Seafood is a B12 power food. Eat more tuna and crab—even canned varieties—and clams, trout, and sardines.
  • Calcium, potassium and Vitamin D: These nutrients play an important role in our skeletal health. They also decrease the risk of autoimmune diseases, cancer, hypertension, and diabetes. Find calcium, potassium, and Vitamin D in foods such as milk, yogurt, tuna, eggs, salmon, spinach, kale, and collard greens.

By being mindful of your food choices, you can improve the nutritional benefits to your body. If you’d like more information about what foods can help you meet your nutritional needs for your age, height, and weight, check out the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate Plan.

To enhance your nutritional journey, residents across all Wesley communities can benefit from onsite guidance provided by registered dietitians through our culinary partner, Morrison Living.

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