We are aware that it is never too late to make changes to support healthy aging since we know that good nutrition throughout the lifespan helps prevent chronic disease. Age-related changes in muscle and bone mass, such as osteoporosis, put senior citizens at higher risk for developing chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease.
The good news is that by consuming nutrient-dense meals and having an active lifestyle, senior citizens can reduce some of these risks.
What Nutrients are Needed as We Age?
Adults over 70 years of age should increase their Calcium and Vitamin D levels to increase their bone health. A supplement or calcium-rich foods will do the trick. Eating fortified cereals, fish, eggs, and dark green leafy vegetables will put them on the right path.
Also essential is B12. It’s important to note that as young as 50, there are some adults who are not able to absorb B12. In addition to eating fish and lean meats, the doctor might suggest a B12 supplement.
Dietary fiber is good for all ages, but its benefits increase in the older generation. Getting your daily dose of dietary fiber will help protect against type 2 diabetes and heart disease. This means increasing your fruits and veggies, as well as your whole grains.
Potassium can help lower your risk of high blood pressure, which is also important for us as we age. Fruits, vegetables, and beans are all good sources of potassium. You should also watch your salt intake as well.
Nutritional Concerns of Senior Citizens
Not eating enough of the nutrients we need is a problem in general. For older individuals, it can cause even more issues. There may also be times when eating is difficult for senior citizens. They may have issues chewing or swallowing. If they’re living on their own, depression may also be a culprit as to why they’re not eating as they should.
If you have a loved one who is aging, be mindful of these concerns. Take the time to stop by and ensure they’re eating what they should, or offer to go shopping for them if they’re missing key ingredients in their pantry. Encourage them to run errands with you if possible, as this can help with their isolation.
Be mindful of the nutritional needs as we grow older. Our bodies do not process things as they once did, and for that reason, we may need more or less of certain items. Consulting a physician with questions, whether you are older or caring for someone who is, will help answer any questions you might have.