Eating well at any age is important, but as we age, our bodies change making us require certain nutrients more than we did in our younger years. Malnutrition is common among older individuals. In fact, the American Academy of Family Physicians estimates that in the US, around 3.7 million people over the age of 50 are malnourished.
There are several reasons why older individuals don’t eat a nutritionally balanced diet:
- Senses–As people age, some can lose the sense of taste and smell, which prohibits their desire to eat and be satisfied.
- Energy and Body Capabilities–A decrease in energy expenditure, and a body that prevents you from doing certain things, can hinder someone’s desire to cook.
- Dental Changes–avoidance of hard or sticky foods.
- Stomach Changes–gastritis, constipation, bloating
- Limited income
- Dementia and other medical conditions causing them to forget to eat
- Special dietary restrictions
Getting older isn’t glamorous, but there are some changes you can make in your diet to help you live a healthier, active lifestyle. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that seniors need more of the following vitamins and nutrients in their foods:
- Calcium and Vitamin D–broccoli, seeds, almonds, cheese, yogurt, fatty fish like salmon and tuna, leafy greens, fortified cereals, etc).
- Vitamin B12 —organ meats like liver and kidneys, sardines, beef, fortified cereals, rainbow trout, and a variety of dairy foods)
- Fiber–beans and lentils, raspberries, whole grains and pastas, granola, oatmeal, split peas, artichoke, etc)
- Potassium–bananas, oranges, cantaloupe, honeydew, apricots, grapefruit (some dried fruits, such as prunes, raisins, and dates)
Eating a proper diet rich in these nutrients will not only help one to be healthier, but it also allows for one to live life with energy and vitality. Studies also show that a proper diet can reduce cardiovascular diseases, sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, gastrointestinal problems, etc.
Serving a well-rounded diet with foods rich in these nutrients will help keep your loved one healthy and well-nourished. Still unsure where to start? Click on the meals below to try these simple recipes we’ve compiled from the web:
- Avocado Breakfast Bruschetta
- Whole wheat waffles with almond butter and fruit
- Banana Split Oatmeal
- Banana Spice Smoothie
- Tuna Salad on leafy greens or whole wheat bread
- California Club Chicken Wrap
- Vegetable Soup
- Chicken Burger with Spinach Basil Pesto and Mozzarella
- Slow Cooker Southwestern Bean Soup
- Pan Grilled Salmon with Pineapple Salsa
- Ground Beef Stroganoff
- Skillet Lemon Chicken with Artichokes and Brown Rice
Your personalized care team here at PrimRose can also help recommend certain foods for your loved one’s dietary needs.
Do you have a favorite, nutritious recipe you’d like to share? Leave it in the comments below.