Senior Nutrition - Dietary
Dietary Nutrition - As you
grow older, you have probably noticed that
you cannot eat the same foods that you always have. At least
not in the same proportion without increasing your own proportions
Your metabolism along with
lifestyle are primarily to blame. As we age, we reduce the
amount of calories that we burn and those that are more sedentary
burn even fewer. The longer that it has been since you have
had an active lifestyle, the slower your metabolism and the fewer
calories you burn.
Though there are many seniors who
keep a high metabolism, most do not. This is a leading cause
of obesity among seniors. Others simply do not eat and while
this can keep the weight down, it causes poor nutrition. A
healthy weight is not an indicator of proper
Sometimes it is tempting for
seniors to choose a piece of bread or a few crackers as
lunch. In other words, they don't gain weight because there
are so few calories there. But such a meal is almost devoid
of any nutrition and is one step towards a malfunctioning body and
faster physical aging.
Reduce carbohydrates and fats
Seniors still need a certain
amount of sugars and carbohydrates in their diet, but that is
generally not a problem. Getting the proper nutrition in
while not going overboard with carbohydrates is.
It is true that seniors often
don't eat as much as they used to. Therefore, it is critical
that everything that is eaten is of the best quality and full of
vitamins and minerals. Seniors can't generally afford to eat
junk food or that which has the sole purpose of filling you up.
Seniors often have problems
tasting food. Foods that they once enjoyed leave them
lacking in satisfaction and they often resort to high salt and/or
fat foods, just to taste them. Plan to increase
flavors without adding these two ingredients and you will
probably find that most seniors enjoy more nutritional foods once
Reduce carbohydrates in general
by making carb-heavy foods a small part of the meal rather than
its central focus. In general, try to avoid
"white" foods (except for milk) like white flour
products like white bread, products made with white sugar, white
rice, and potatoes. All these have nutritional value but
that value is far better found in other foods, particularly green
and yellow vegetables and fresh, non-sugared fruits.
Eating raw or freshly cooked
Canned and processed foods have
largely lost their original nutritional values. Even more
so, processed foods have lost most of their enzymes that are
critical for proper digestions and absorption.
(More on digestive enzymes>>)
Buying plenty of fresh fruits
and vegetable helps to up the supply of minerals and nutrients as
well as keep a healthy supply of enzymes flowing into the
Going straight to a diet of fresh
fruits and vegetables is often hard to do and won't last
long. Any drastic and sudden changes in eating habits can
have some side effects and may be a bit too foreign to last
long. Introduce fresh fruits and vegetable slowly and even
start by cooking most of them if you are working on a big change
in eating habits.
Cooked vegetables aren't
as good for you as fresh ones but they are far superior to the
canned variety because they haven't been as highly processed,
don't have the preservatives, and they are often higher quality to
Steaming vegetables is far
superior to boiling them because you aren't washing the nutrients
down the drain.
Boiling vegetables can
offer some unique flavor enhancing possibilities and while there
is more of a loss in nutrition, cooking them until they are just
barely done will help preserve much of the nutrition.
Besides, if you can increase the flavor of the food, chances are
that more will be eaten, thereby adding back those lost nutrients
to the diet.
- A great source of proteins, iron, and vitamins, meats have a
very important role in a senior's diet as long as they are eaten
in reason and using some common sense.
Meat that is high in salt
(sodium) and/or nitrates such as bacon and ham are very appealing
because they are high in flavor. However, they are also a
potential danger to those who have high blood
If eaten, be sure that it is in
small amounts and more of a treat than a major part of a
meal. One or two pieces of bacon a week should not be a
problem for most people but be sure to discuss this with your
doctor, especially if hypertension is an issue or there are other
Lean pork is a great part
of a healthy diet. It provides necessary protein and is
known to be quite high in B vitamins as well as other
nutrients. The B vitamins are known as the energy vitamins
and are known to be strongly connected with proper red blood cell
formation. One or two servings per week is ideal.
Skinless chicken or turkey
are one of the best meats available as they again are high in
protein but also lower in fats and cholesterol than many other
meats. Two to three servings per week is a great part of a
healthy senior diet. Be sure to occasionally do something
special with it to up
the flavor. Poultry doesn't have as strong a flavor as
other meats and could become a bit boring.
Fish is another wonderful
meat for a senior diet. Typically low in fat, it is high in essential
fatty acids which is wonderful for many human body
systems. People who eat a large amount of fish over red meat
are generally healthier. Two to three servings per week is
fantastic in a senior diet.
Baked or broiled fish is far superior to fried fish because of
lower fat and the fact that most fried fish is breaded or
battered. Be sure to avoid high levels of tuna as it is
often known to contain minor levels of mercury which can build up
in the body and cause illness.