How to Eat Healthy as a Senior

While a balanced diet is important at every stage of life, it is more important as you get older. What you eat can affect how long you will enjoy a healthy life and age gracefully. As you get older, you may become more prone to long-term illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Therefore, if you do not take care of your body, you will spend your senior years managing chronic health conditions. While your dietary requirements and eating habits tend to evolve as you get older, your diet should remain balanced through your entire life.

Portion Control

It is common to gain weight as you grow older, and being overweight can bring a myriad of health problems. This is why controlling the portion sizes of each of your meals is important, because you can prevent any unnecessary weight gain if you control your portions. So if you want to maintain a healthy weight, you need to change your portion sizes. If you want to maintain a healthy weight, you should try sticking to a low-carb diet and eat a lot of fruits and vegetables with each meal. If you do not know how to measure portion sizes, you can estimate with your plate. For instance, half of your plate should be vegetables, and the other half should be divided into proteins and whole grains or carbohydrates so that you get a balance of the foods that you really need. 

Identify Dietary Issues

As you age, you may experience dietary problems, which can change your eating habits. Loss of appetite is very common among the elderly because their sense of smell and taste can be weakened as they age. If your body is getting enough nutrients, then eating less will not be a problem, but is important to check this with a healthcare professional. Malnutrition can also lead to further health problems, so it is important to eat as much as you can when possible. Your digestive system also weakens with age, and you may have issues digesting some food. If you experience stomach upsets after eating certain foods, ensure you make the necessary diet adjustments. Even seniors who are living in aged care facilities like Banfields Aged Care should feel comfortable with making changes to their diet. Most facilities allow residents to let staff know if they have any dietary issues so that they can make adjustments accordingly when it comes to preparing meals.  

Put Down the Salt

Seniors often add more salt to their food than people in other age groups because they want to improve their foods’ flavour due to their reduced sense of taste. Unfortunately, your body does not take too kindly to high sodium levels, so you may need to stop seasoning your food. That extra grain of salt you add to your food can cause high blood pressure, and lead to other health conditions like stroke, heart diseases, and kidney problems. It is wise to stick to the recommended 2300 milligrams of sodium and try flavouring your food with herbs and spices instead of extra salt. For instance, turmeric and cayenne pepper can add flavour to your diet without affecting your health, so you should try adding them to your next meal instead.

Supplements Can Help

Sometimes when you get older and develop a chronic illness, you may need to limit your intake of certain foods or make certain changes to your diet. However, because of these changes that you need to make, you may be missing out on some crucial vitamins and minerals that your body may need. Therefore, you should talk to your doctor about supplements that can help to balance your diet. Fruits and vegetables are an essential part of any senior’s diet, but they can be poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. To ensure that your body is getting the right amounts of vitamins and minerals that it needs, you should consider taking some supplements such as calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, and B-12. But before, you take any supplements, learn about their side effects, and find out if they can interfere with your medications.

Read the Labels

While it is recommended that you stick to fresh food, you can not always avoid prepared and canned food. However, processed foods can contain additional sugar, fat, and sodium. Refined sugars have no nutritional value, and they only add calories to your diet. These fats are usually unhealthy, and they will increase the cholesterol levels in your body, which can cause you to gain weight. To limit the effects of processed food, you should study the labels carefully before purchasing them. Even if the food is advertised as healthy, you should know what the ingredients of these foods are and what that you will be consuming.

It can be hard to eat healthy as a senior, and no one expects you to be healthy all the time. However, it is important to try and eat the right foods and think about the things that you are eating a majority of the time. If you have a more balanced diet, you will find that you feel a lot healthier and you may increase your overall life expectancy, which is something worth striving for.