seniors eating balanced diet

The Significance of a Balanced Diet for Senior Citizens

As we age our nutritional needs change, among other things. Nutrients are the components of food such as protein, carbohydrates and fats,  which our body needs in order to function properly. Regardless of age, everyone should eat a balanced diet, but when growing older some may find it more difficult to adjust their diet to their age. More sedentary life, increase of health, problems with chewing are things that may affect seniors’ balanced diets. Here is why eating healthily is of utmost importance to senior citizens.

Seniors are more prone to malnutrition

Malnutrition is more common with mature citizens and there are a couple of factors having influence on that. Firstly, our metabolism becomes slower as we mature, meaning that our caloric needs decrease. Additionally, our appetite may wane too, making it harder to want to have three meals a day and to top it all off, our bodies also have a much harder time absorbing the nutrients from food as we age.  Taking everything into consideration older folks really have to pay attention to when and what they are eating. Every meal needs to be carefully prepared, making sure that the final result is a meal bursting with nutrients seniors require.

Eat nutrient-packed food

Since metabolism decreases with age, seniors and those who take care of them should pay attention that food which is high in calories and empty in nutrients be consumed in moderation. The most desirable thing to do would be to eat foods dense in micronutrients such as protein, healthy fats, fibers and vitamins. When it comes to protein, senior people need it to keep their muscles strong and agile. Good sources of protein are lean meat and fish. However, fats may be a bit trickier. It may come to mind what are the most healthy fats and what exactly is the difference between healthy and unhealthy ones. Healthy, unsaturated fats can be found in oily fish, avocados and nuts, whereas unhealthy, saturated fats are mostly found in processed food and may cause high cholesterol. 

Try consuming a lot of vitamins and minerals

Unfortunately, bones grow more brittle with age and our muscles are more prone to atrophy. By taking care that we have a regular intake of certain vitamins and minerals we would make our body healthier and stronger. Calcium, vitamin D and magnesium benefit our bones and muscles. Individuals who have normal levels of these vitamins have a lesser risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture. It is also important to mention that for optimal results, these three vitamins and minerals should be taken in conjunction because they collaborate in our bodies. Potassium is another very important mineral which our bodies need on a cellular level, partaking in the healthy function of our heart, blood, muscles and more. Seniors may need to pay attention to their potassium level in order to keep their blood pressure level in check. If it is hard from you to get all of these from your diet, having supplements is another great option.

Drink a lot of water

Being properly hydrated is important no matter how old we are but some people may completely lose their sense of thirst with age. Also, some seniors may be prescribed medicine known as diuretics which are known to flush water out of the body. Due to lack of collagen our skin is more dry and more likely to itch and crack and with drinking enough water the itchiness and dryness should be taken care of. Doctors recommend drinking around eight glasses of water a day, but don’t worry, other liquids such as non-sugary juices and tea count as well.