A healthy diet and physical activity are both important at all stages of life. Changing appetites, slower metabolism, eating alone, buying ready-to-eat meals and living on a fixed income are all different factors that can affect the quality of one's food choices. Eating a well-planned, balanced mix of healthy foods can help prevent heart disease, type 2 diabetes, bone loss, some kinds of cancer and anemia. A healthy diet also provides the body with the nutrients and energy needed for daily activities.
There are certain nutrients that are especially important for the aging. Older adults need more calcium and vitamin D to help maintain bone health. To meet these needs, select calcium-rich foods and beverages and aim for three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy products each day. Other sources of calcium include fortified cereals and fruit juices, dark green leafy vegetables, canned fish with soft bones, and fortified plant-based beverages. Good sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, such as salmon, eggs, and fortified foods and beverages. Some adults age 50 and older may not be able to absorb enough vitamin B12. Fortified cereal, lean meat and some fish and seafood are good sources of vitamin B12. Visit with your health care provider to see if you need a B12 supplement.
A diet rich in fiber will aid in regularity. Fiber may help lower your risk for heart disease and reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes. Whole-grain breads and cereals, beans and peas, and fruits and vegetables will supply dietary fiber. Consuming adequate potassium along with limiting sodium intake may lower your risk of high blood pressure. Fruits, vegetables, beans and low-fat dairy products are good sources of potassium. Try selecting and preparing foods with little or no added salt. Add flavor to food with herbs and spices.
It is also important to know that polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are primarily found in nuts, seeds, avocados, vegetable oils, and fish. Choose foods that are low in saturated fat and trans fat to help reduce the risk of heart disease. Older adults need nutrient-rich foods that are lower in calories. Make every bite count!
According to the Mayo Clinic, doctors recommend 8 to 9 cups of water a day for the average, healthy adult. If your body does not receive enough water, it will begin to pull water from other areas. When this happens in the blood, the capillaries begin to shrink, which makes blood thicker, more likely to clot and harder to pump through the body. Water is critical! It maintains body temperature, metabolizes body fat, plays a role in digestion, lubricates and cushions organs, and offers a moist environment to regions like the throat. Water also transports nutrients to the cells and flushes toxins out of organs. It is also the final byproduct of cellular respiration in which the cells metabolize a viable source of energy to power the activities of the body.
In order to make the aging stages of life easier, it is important to implement these nutrition tips. In order to have more energy and to feel better, drink plenty of water and check daily diets to make sure the nutrients needed are prominent.
It is the policy of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age or disability. The LSU AgCenter and LSU provide equal opportunities in programs and employment.