Eating a balanced and nutrient-dense diet can be difficult especially as you age and your body’s needs change. As you age loss of smell and taste can impact how foods taste and meal satisfaction. Fruits and vegetables can taste more sour or bitter, and lack of smell can lead to dissatisfaction with food choices. Furthermore, as you age your metabolism and physical activity levels decrease which lowers your caloric needs. Other factors such as detention, tooth sensitivity, and gastrointestinal issues can make some foods painful or unappealing. Because of these factors, many seniors can be undernourished.
Malnutrition is due to undernutrition, nutrient deficiencies, or imbalances which can lead to symptoms such as loss of appetite and lack of interest or wellness. It is important to keep in mind the changes that occur with age and know the nutrients that are needed for good health. A good diet will help ensure that you get all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that you need. But seniors can often not get all that they need from their diet. Here are some areas to monitor to ensure proper nutrition:
Vitamin B helps with energy levels, metabolism, and brain function and has been shown to reduce brain atrophy in seniors. Furthermore, it can promote good eyesight, cardiovascular health, and digestion. Good sources of Vitamin B include whole grains, organ meats, lean meats, dark leafy greens, beans, and peas.
Calcium and Vitamin D promotes good bone health and density. Furthermore, Vitamin D can decrease the risk for colon and blood cancer and can boost your immune system to help ward off potential infections and sickness. Good dietary options for calcium include low-fat or fat-free dairy products, fortified cereals, dark green vegetables, and fruit juices. Vitamin D sources include fatty fish such as salmon, eggs, and mushrooms.
Fiber-rich foods help keep your digestion regular, lowers heart disease risk, and reduce type 2 diabetes risk. Fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains are great options to increase your fiber intake.
It is important to limit your intake of saturated and trans fats to lead a heart-healthy life. But polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are important for a well-rounded diet. Great sources of healthy fats come from nuts, seeds, avocados, vegetable oils, and fish.
Potassium intake paired with a limited intake of sodium can help reduce risks for high blood pressure. Good sources for potassium include bananas, potatoes, and yogurt. To reduce salt intake try experimenting with seasoning with herbs and spices to add flavor to your meals instead of salt.
Understanding these nutrients and why they are important helps highlight the impact that they can make on your life. Consuming healthy foods with these vitamins can improve your overall health and wellness and reduce your disease risks. Keeping a nutrient-dense diet will help give you energy and aid in a healthy appetite.
For more information on nutrition and dietary needs check out these resources.