Aging is normal and every one of us will go through this stage, but many of the changes in the body, especially the negative ones, are preventable. You need to take proper steps to in order to make this happen, but it is possible. Medical researches show that through proper nutrition, aging can be slowed down and many debilitating conditions can even be prevented. Some examples include osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, and spinal problems. Almost half of the medical problems of elders are related to diet. It is a proven fact that people whose diet is rich in vegetables live longer and are healthier.
Food Choices as You Age
As you age, your sense of smell and taste decreases. When this happens, food does not look as good to you as it was when you were younger. Also, there are more health problems that make food less appealing. This is the reason why many older people are becoming choosy when it comes to the food they eat.
The body composition and structure change with age, as well. The muscle mass decreases because muscles are not being used the same way as before. Additionally, the body’s metabolism slows down, and because of this, you need to take in less calories so your body can digest everything that you eat. If you fail to do this, chances are, you will gain excess weight that you would be difficult to lose, making you at risk for many diseases common in an old person.
Food and Nutrition for Elders
As you age, your body will not be capable of completely absorbing and using up all of the nutrients that you take in, unlike when you were younger. Some of these nutrients then should be increased or replenished as you get older. These nutrients include the following:
- Calcium – Calcium is important in our diet because it helps provide healthy bones and teeth. An elderly person should then find a way to supplement calcium intake to prevent bone problems such as back pain, sciatica, and osteoporosis among others, which are more likely to occur in women.
- Vitamin D – Vitamin D is essential because it helps absorb the calcium.
- Vitamin B-12 – Vitamin B-12 helps build red blood cells. Thus, elders should get weekly shots of this vitamin so that they can keep healthy and strong nerves.
- Vitamin E – Intake of vitamin E is important because it assists in preventing heart disease.
- Zinc – Zinc helps in improving the body’s immune system which is normally affected by aging.
- Potassium – Potassium is important because it helps cure high blood pressure.
Diet Tips for Elders
Here are some tips to help a person as they get older to plan for a better diet and a healthier life.
- Plan regular meals for the day and try to avoid eating junk foods or foods that don’t have any value to the body. Instead, eat fruits and vegetables which are nutritious and filling.
- Make meal time something to look forward to. Even if you are eating alone, you can make it fun by setting up your table with candles, fancy plates, or flowers. Treat yourself to some music. The possibilities are endless to make your meal time motivating.
- Try a variety of food with similar nutritional value so meal times won’t be boring.
These are just a few ideas on how you can take steps to maintain your health as you begin to age. Getting older happens, so you might as well be ready for it by knowing what the best foods to eat are.