The Benefits of Proper Nutrition for Seniors


brain foods for seniors

The Importance of Healthy Eating Habits for Seniors

According to the National Institutes of Health, eating a well-planned and well-balanced mix of foods daily has numerous benefits for seniors. A healthy senior diet can reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, bone less, and even some types of cancer. Not only that, but proper senior nutrition also helps reduce high blood pressure and can lower cholesterol, and can build up your body’s ability to manage some of the chronic conditions or illnesses you may already have.

Eating a healthy diet also provides increased mental capacity and higher energy levels, helping you feel better overall and live longer and stronger.

How to Promote a Nutritious Senior Diet for Healthy Aging

As we age, we may experience changes in our appetites or taste buds. Our metabolism begins to slow as does our activity levels, which means the body needs fewer calories. Some seniors may begin to skip meals, which can lead to a variety of problems that jeopardize their health. An improper senior diet will cause undesired weight loss and a weaker immune system, making aging adults more susceptible to illnesses like the flu and the common cold.

It’s important to know how you can stimulate your appetite for proper senior nutrition. Promote healthy eating habits by:

  • Setting a proper eating schedule. Our bodies thrive on routine, and when we stray from our typical schedules the appetite can be affected.
  • Don’t increase the portion size; increase the amount of nutrients you’re eating. For example, adding peanut butter to your toast instead of butter or adding cheese to your scrambled eggs.
  • Use more herbs, sauces or marinades to enhance the flavor of your foods and address decreased taste sensitivity.
  • Eat socially! Lourdes-Noreen McKeen has wonderful dining options where residents can eat with their peers. Socializing with others during a meal can help improve your food intake.

Eating Right for Proper Senior Nutrition

Now is the time to implement those changes in your diet that will improve your overall health! Incorporate foods that are rich in those vitamins and nutrients your body needs, like fresh fruit and veggies, lean proteins from chicken and fish, and healthy carbs from grains and to provide a boost of energy.

Another way to promote proper senior nutrition includes eating healthy snacks. Instead of reaching for that bag of chips or package of cookies, snack on chopped veggies, trail mix, whole-grain crackers or dried fruit. Prepare small containers or bags of snacks so they’re just as convenient to grab as that bag of chips.

Also, did you know you should eat your biggest meals earlier in the day? It’s true! This can be a difficult rule to follow, as many people tend to skip breakfast and eat a lighter lunch, then enjoy a large, calorie-laden dinner. However, eating a big, healthy breakfast gives you the fuel you need for the day, while eating a smaller dinner will help you not head to bed after consuming the majority of your daily calories.

Don’t forget to treat yourself! Save around 200 calories per day to satisfy your sweet tooth with some antioxidant-rich dark chocolate or some pretzels for your salt cravings.

For more information about how Lourdes-Noreen McKeen helps promote healthy living for seniors in our active retirement community, please visit http://www.lourdesmckeen.org/senior-wellness/.

Senior Living

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