How to Eat Healthy as an Older Person? – It is no secret that as we get older, our bodies’ needs change. We need less sleep, a more fibrous diet and an exercise regimen that is more attuned to our bodies and their strength levels.
When it comes to diet, there are a fair few things that you must keep in mind to keep everything operating effectively, and with this, it can be hard to know what to eat and what not to, in order to keep that digestive system happy and healthy.
One point that it is important to keep in mind is that as we age, our bodies also have a hard time extracting nutrients from specific food groups, and so it is important to focus a diet around slowing this digestion and giving our digestive tract time to really get a grasp of all the good foods we’re feeding it.
With that said, let’s take a look at some of our tips below to make eating healthier as an older person a lot easier.
Food Variety Remains Paramount
Similarly to when we were young, a diverse and varied diet remains vitally important. We should always do our best to split our diets into categories and ensure we’re getting all of our recommended intake of grains, vegetables, fruits and more.
With this, you’re also ensuring you’re ingesting all of the nutrients you need from each food group and not leaving too much out that cannot be supplemented by vitamin tablets, for example.
Studies have shown us that although red meats and other foods can be detrimental to our health, it is still suggested that older adults continue their red meat intake, along with their legumes, fruits, nuts and dairy, which essentially enable a rich microbiome and keep health at a high.
One final thing to keep in mind is that in the aged care field and in facilities such as Banfields residential aged care, varied diets remain a top priority for those exact reasons, to keep residents healthy.
Hydration and Water Requirements Increase
An important factor to keep in mind as we age is our requirement for water.
It isn’t too well known that older people’s bodies require more water than their younger counterparts for bodily functions to work properly, but on top of this, an older person’s ‘thirst’ sensation is reduced. This means that even when you’re thirsty, it is hard to know when to drink.
That in mind, reminders and phone applications come in handy for this. It is vital to continue your litre-or-more intake of water each day, and that can sometimes mean setting reminders on a smartphone or keeping a marked water bottle by your side for most of the day.
Slowly Adapt an Existing Diet
Something to keep in mind as we age is the fact that our diets will have to adapt over time, and getting a head start on this early is a good thing to consider.
A few points to make are that an increase in fibre is required as we age along with a protein, calcium and vitamin D boost too, and so working on finding out which foods with high levels of these nutrients is a good place to start.
A tip from us is that you don’t always need to make major changes to your diet to get your requirements in, and you could simply add a few natural supplements here and there. For example, psyllium husk can be added atop cereals or consumed on its own to increase your daily fibre intake without having to change anything about your diet at all.
Small changes are sometimes more than good enough, though it’s always important to talk to a GP if you have any concerns about your diet as you get older.
Make Adaptations Based on Lifestyle
One key suggestion we must make is that eating healthier relies heavily on your lifestyle and ability to commit to changes in diet.
If your daily life doesn’t allow for food preparation or you aren’t in a space where cooking is particularly easy, then work to adapt your diet around this. For those with very short spans of free time in the morning for an at-home breakfast that is healthy, then a quick smoothie with your greens might be the way to go. And for our readers with a nighttime routine that doesn’t have much leeway for a healthy home-cooked meal, then meal-prepping during your spare time on weekends might be something to consider.
With all our points above, it is fairly clear to see that eating healthy as an older person can be challenging if you’re not equipped with the know-how on what you should be eating.
However, with the research and the commitment to adapting your diet, you’re well on the way to getting on top of all your dietary requirements as you age.