Nutrition

Nutrition for Seniors; Top 5 Nutritious Foods for Seniors

Medically reviewed by Raymond Radiguet M.D.

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Eating healthy food is important regardless of your age. However, as people get older, their bodies develop special needs. It is common for the immune system to weaken with advancing age. As a senior, your most effective arsenal against weakened immunity and illnesses, is a healthy diet. Old people have special needs when it comes to nutrition.

In this piece, we are going to explore the special nutrition needs that old people might have. We will also highlight five top foods that every senior should have in their diet.

Special Nutrition Needs for Seniors

Dietary Fiber

Dietary fiber is essential for everyone regardless of their age. However, seniors are most likely to have a less functional digestive system. You’ll notice that old people complain of constipation and other digestion challenges more often than other people.

Dietary fiber will help improve their digestion, and ensure they get more benefits from the food that they eat. Dietary fiber has also been proven to lower the risk of getting heart disease. It also reduces your chances of getting type 2 diabetes.

Vitamin B12

Seniors should get ample supply of Vitamin B12. After 50 years, your body’s ability to absorb Vitamin B12 from the food you eat is suppressed. As such, you need to take in a lot of vitamin B12 to make up for the deficit. You can do that by taking Vitamin B12 supplements. Consult with your doctor first before you start taking any supplements.

Lean Protein and Fats

In old age, your body starts wearing out faster than it is being rebuilt. You need plenty of proteins to enhance the rebuilding. You also need to be careful because you do want to pack in too many calories that you might not be able to burn. Lean protein and fats are a great way of rebuilding your body without gaining weight.

You should go for foods with unsaturated fat. Avoid saturated fat and trans fat at all costs. Lean protein and unsaturated fat can help you reduce your chances of suffering heart disease as well.

Potassium

As a senior, you need some potassium in your body, but in controlled amounts. You also need to limit your sodium intake. This will reduce your chances of suffering hypertension. Try to add flavor to your food by adding herbs and spices instead of salt.

Calcium and vitamin D

One of the most common problems you will hear old people complain about is aching joints. Your bone structure weakens as you become older. That is where calcium and Vitamin D come in handy. They will help to keep your bones strong, and avoid joint and back aches.

In general, as a senior you need to ensure your body is getting all the essential nutrients. We’ve have highlighted the nutrients that most people start getting less of when they are growing older.

Here are the top 5 foods that can help boost your immunity in old age.

Lean Meat

We’ve mentioned that you are going to need a lot of lean protein to ensure your body rebuilds easily. You can get that from lean meat. Lean meat refers to low-fat meats such as skinless chicken, salmon, and fat-less pork-chops.

You can also get your lean protein from seafood. If you are not a fan of meat, you could try eggs and beans. They are also a great source of lean protein.

Fruits and Vegetables

You might think that fruits and vegetables are too cliché when talking about good nutrition. They appear so often in such discussions because nothing can beat them when it comes to nutrition. Vegetables such as kale, spinach, carrot, and sweet potato will supply your body with the mineral nutrients you need. You need mineral nutrients such as zinc, potassium, calcium, iron, etc. We’ve already mentioned that some of these minerals are quite essential for your bone health.

When it comes to fruits, think of bananas, oranges, apples, pineapples, and avocados. Berries are also a great source of vitamins. Fruits will go a long way in strengthening your immune system. They will also give you the energy you need to handle your day to day activities.

Whole Grains and Cereals

Whole grains and cereals are the best sources of dietary fiber. We have already discussed the importance of dietary fiber. Foods such as millet, peas, barley, and wheat will supply your body with all the dietary fiber it needs. Brown rice and whole-wheat pasta are also great options.

If you are able to beat the digestion issues that come with old age, you will be able to avoid many other health challenges. A healthy gut solves so many health challenges.

Milk and Milk Products

Milk and milk products are rich in calcium. Calcium is essential in strengthening the bone structure. Milk, yoghurt, cheese, and other milk products will go a long way in keeping your upright, even as you get older. Go for low-fat milk and milk products. Also, avoid products that have artificial additives such as colors and sweeteners.

Milk also has a compound known as DHA. As we progress in age, our cognitive abilities and brain health start taking a beating. DHA is known to promote brain development. It is known to prevent amnesia, which is quite common among old people.

Water

Most nutritionists might not stress this enough, but you need to keep your body hydrated if you want to stay healthy. Water is not food, but we must mention it because it is very important. All the other nutrients you take in might not be very useful if you do not keep yourself well hydrated. Water will help in digestion, absorption of nutrients, and blood flow.

In a wrap, ensure your diet has plenty of fiber and vitamin D. These are the two most essential minerals for seniors. Keep your sodium or salt intake as low as possible. If you can, refrain from eating salt altogether. You can always find other creative ways of adding some flavor to your food. Sodium will weaken your bones.

In conclusion, eating healthy while in advanced age is important than in any other time in your life. However, young people should make a point of eating healthy and staying fit. It will save them from a lot of health challenges as they get older. Either way, most of the nutrients that we need in old age are in most of the foods around us. You just need to find a way to come up with a proper diet plan.

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