Nutrition is a vital part of overall health from the day you’re born, and it remains essential as you age. Your body requires many different nutrients (carbs, proteins, minerals, vitamins, and fats) to sustain proper function, regulate energy levels, and maintain a healthy weight. Believe it or not, your diet has the power to significantly impact the way your body fights off diseases and ailments.
As you reach your senior years, your body undergoes a variety of changes. However, what foods you eat and how much you consume is still a contributing factor to your overall wellness. Below are ten nutrient-rich foods seniors can eat regularly to remain healthy:
- Avocados are a high-calorie food that’s an excellent source of healthy fat.
- Fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and herring can help deter heart problems and reduce mental decline.
- Oats are easy to eat and supply seniors with a significant amount of fibre while lowering blood sugar levels.
- Berries like raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries harbour tons of antioxidants and are a low-glycemic fruit that can also satisfy your sweet tooth.
- Nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, and others are a powerhouse of nutrients, providing substantial amounts of fibre, protein, and healthy fats.
- Seeds such as sunflower, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), chia seeds, and flaxseed provide healthy fats and also make for a convenient, nutrient-rich snack.
- Chicken is packed with protein, which is important for building and maintaining muscle mass in the elderly.
- Dark, Leafy Vegetables like kale, spinach, collard greens, and swiss chard have plenty of fibre, which can help maintain cholesterol levels.
- Water isn’t technically food, but it plays a critical role in maintaining a healthy body, ridding it of toxins, aiding digestion, preventing constipation, helping your body absorb nutrients, and so much more.
- Dairy products, including yoghurt, milk, and cheese, are rich in calcium, a valuable nutrient that helps keep bones strong and prevent bone loss in seniors.
As always, it’s important for seniors to also engage in routine physical activity. Paired with a nutritious diet, exercise can offer an abundance of health benefits such as improved memory, boosted energy, increased flexibility, a positive mood, better balance, and much more.
Watch Out for Loss of Appetite in Seniors
Have you recently noticed a change in your elderly loved one’s appetite or your own? This is likely due to the natural ageing process or potentially signify another underlying health condition. Fortunately, there are a variety of things that can be done to increase a senior’s desire for food, like finding higher-calorie foods, sharing frequent meals with others, snacking often on nutritious foods, and ensuring foods are easy to eat and digest.
If you are a family caregiver, make sure that you keep an eye on your senior’s food consumption habits and contact their doctor if things worsen. Malnourishment can lead to severe health consequences in seniors, such as depression, diabetes, heart disease, and eating disorders if not treated as soon as possible.