True, eating a well-balanced diet is important at any age, but when you enter into the golden era of your life, you need to give more attention and importance to what you eat. Yes, you have heard this advice before; older adults need to pay special emphasis on their diet. But, do you know why this is so important?
What Happens As You Age?
As you grow older, your appetite, nutritional requirements, and food habits change drastically. Things you didn't worry about earlier now become a major cause of concern. This is because of the following factors:
• Medical Conditions Develop: Health problems are common when you age. High blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes are the common problems that affect aging adults. As a result, you become sensitive to certain foods and hence, need to make changes in your diet.
• Poor Immune System: As you age, your immune system weakens. The chances of developing food poisoning or food-related diseases increase. By taking care to eat healthy, immune-boosting food, you can keep common ailments at bay.
• Need for Fewer Calories: To maintain healthy weight, you require fewer calories. Less energy, reduced physical activity, muscle/joint issues and loss of muscle mass cause your metabolism to slow down. This minimizes your calorie needs.
• Other Factors: You may begin taking medications that affect your appetite; oral health problems can prevent you from eating; or losing a close family member or spouse can take a toll on your regular eating habits.
Maintaining A Healthy Diet
Here are a few ways you can keep your diet in check, regardless of the above factors:
• Consume adequate amounts of fiber, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables. It helps maintain a healthy digestive system.
• You can ask your doctor for mineral or vitamin supplements such as Vitamin D, calcium and magnesium, if you find consuming nutrient-rich foods a hassle.
• Mingle and stay social. Chatting with friends and family can making eating a fun activity.
• Eat nutrient-rich foods as it helps your body get carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals and essential fats.
• Opt for healthier frozen, canned and processed foods such as instant oatmeal, bagged salad and frozen unsweetened fruit.
• Drink adequate amounts of water as you will not have to worry about dehydration. Set a goal to drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
The food choices you make play a major role in keeping you healthy and active as you age. Irrespective of age, taking the time to consume a well-balanced diet will pave the way for a healthier you.
by Juanita Swindell