The older you get, the more difficult it is to get all the nutrients you need, so focusing on healthy eating becomes even more important. Activity levels diminish as most people age and so do appetites. Digestive enzymes and stomach acid also reduce, making digestion and absorption more difficult even when you do eat. Some foods are not only difficult to digest, but they’re also difficult to chew if you don’t have healthy teeth, or dentures, or are missing several teeth. To make matters worse, seniors may lack the energy to cook for themselves or don’t cook because they’re living alone.
Seniors may eat less because they require fewer calories.
As you age, your metabolism tends to slow. You have less muscle mass. Muscles require more calories to maintain than fat tissue does. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn. Seniors also tend to be less mobile, too. Not only do they burn fewer calories, but their appetite is also reduced. One way to solve the problem and encourage eating without weight gain is to exercise regularly, whether it’s in a gym with a trainer or just going for a walk.
Medical and digestive issues may prohibit consuming several types of food.
Some health conditions occur more frequently as you age. High blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, and osteoporosis are a few. Many of these conditions come with dietary restrictions or they take medicine that interacts with various foods. Grapefruit, for instance, may interfere with metabolizing warfarin, a blood thinner. Food sensitivities, intolerance, and allergies can also develop. They include everything from gluten and dairy to fish, peppers, onions, and tomatoes. Getting a healthy diet plan from a dietician that can help you develop new habits to address your issues is a good idea.
Many seniors don’t have a social outlet.
Meals are social times for many people and eating alone can be even more depressing. Seniors often fail to cook for themselves and eat bits of food throughout the day which often aren’t nutritious. One way to avoid the problem is to share meals with friends of the same age. You don’t have to eat together, just make enough for several people and share. Meal planning and prep can also help by making meals all at one time, so all you have to do is heat and eat.
- Dental issues can become a problem that isn’t easy to solve. If poor oral health is a problem, smoothies are the answer. Fruit and vegetable smoothies can also be good for people with smaller appetites.
- Exercise can ward off digestive issues. The body builds a healthier microbiome the more you exercise. Food moves easier through the digestive tract, too.
- Hydrating is often a problem for seniors. Some people avoid drinking water since it can increase urination and incontinence may be a problem. Others may not feel thirsty. Dehydration symptoms can mimic dementia in older people.
- No matter what your age, you can’t go wrong by putting a rainbow of color on your plate. Each color represents different phytonutrients that help boost your body’s health.
For more information, contact us today at Reggie C. Fitness