5 Tips for Boosting Senior Nutrition
Good, healthy nutrition is essential at any age, but it’s often overlooked in senior health. Eating well is as much about improving mental acuteness, energy and resistance to illness as it is about supporting a positive attitude and emotional stability. So how can seniors support good eating habits?
- A good diet isn’t about sacrifice: When many of us hear the word “diet,” our minds go to a place that’s all about denial, bland food and weight loss. While a good diet does help you achieve a healthy weight, it doesn’t mean eating foods you hate. It means using fresh, wholesome ingredients to create tasty food that provides essential nutrients and vitamins as well as flavor.
- Include calcium, protein and Vitamin D: These are some of the most important nutrients for seniors, as they actively support the body against age-related illnesses like osteoporosis, blood pressure complications, muscle loss and infections.
- Stay hydrated: While water isn’t nutritional in itself, it plays a vital role in our daily health. Seniors are especially vulnerable to dehydration as a result of certain medications, general decrease in fluid intake and increased effects of heat. Dehydration is a serious issue that can result in confusion, fatigue, muscle cramps, constipation, severe blood pressure changes and changes to blood sugar levels, so at least one glass of water per meal should be consumed, as well as one in between meals. Remember that tea, coffee, vegetables, smoothies, and certain meals like soups and stews, also contribute towards hydration.
- Swap your fats: Certain fats are essential to our health, while others can be damaging, so it’s important to include the healthy options and reduce the harmful ones. Avoid trans fats and saturated fats and replace them with mono-saturated and poly-saturated fats, as these increase good cholesterol as well as protect against heart disease. Good foods to include are avocados, eggs, salmon, tuna, canola oil, almonds, and tofu.
- Swap big meals for regular small meals: As we age, we often find that our appetites diminish, which makes it more difficult to get the nutrition our bodies need. Rather than sitting down to three big meals a day, choose six smaller meals with a wider variety of foods to snack on throughout the day. Smoothies with yogurt and fresh fruit are a great option that includes essential nutrients and proteins.
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The Shores, an assisted living community in Ocean City, New Jersey, helps residents with personal and healthcare service tailored to residents’ needs, is part of United Methodist Communities.
With a personalized and customized set of services, seniors are able to fully access the level of care they require, when they require it. We are also fully equipped and able to assist Alzheimer’s and dementia patients through our memory care and support services.