Maintaining a good diet – full of protein, fruits, vegetables and grains – as well as a somewhat active lifestyle offers seniors a variety of health benefits. Additionally, these steps will reduce the amount of visits to and time spent with a doctor, especially if there is a pre-existing condition like diabetes in play.
To remain as independent and healthy as possible, seniors should be sure to keep the following nutrition advice in mind when developing an eating regimen:
1. Watch those calories
Some people can live for years without ever tracking the number of carbohydrates or amount of sodium in their food. While some seniors are lucky enough to be able to continue this action, the majority are less fortunate. The reason is that certain foods and their ingredients can cause loved ones to gain unnecessary weight. Unless instructed to put on the pounds by a medical professional, being cognizant of calories is a smart move for seniors.
Medline Plus recommended that people try to avoid empty calories, or food with a strong number of calories but without a lot of nutrients. Examples include food like cookies and chips and drinks such as alcohol and soda. Watching food intake and weight will help people avoid the onset of serious conditions, including diabetes and heart disease. Extra and unnecessary weight only makes these problems more possible, according to the National Institutes of Health.
2. Eat nutrient-rich foods
In addition to eliminating unhealthy items from a person's diet, seniors should actively attempt to incorporate more nutrient-rich foods into their regimen. That means more whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, beans and nuts, seafood, lean meats high in protein and fruits and vegetables in every color of the rainbow.
While people can afford to skimp on calories at an older age, they cannot do the same with foods that include critical vitamins and minerals that improve overall health, according to the National Institutes of Health.
"It's important for seniors to stay hydrated."
3. Don't slack on hydration
While food may be the primary focus of this article and various news surrounding seniors' eating habits, people shouldn't overlook the importance of water and other liquids. Dehydration can exacerbate existing conditions, making their symptoms and consequences that much more dangerous.
The National Council on Aging recommended tea, coffee and water as the best choices for loved ones wanting to stay hydrated throughout the day. Since some variations of the first two contain caffeine, seniors should monitor their intake. Too much caffeine can cause dehydration as can fluids that contain sugar and salt.
4. Be mindful of appetite
As people age, it's not uncommon for them to feel less hungry during meal times. No matter what the cause – whether it's loss of taste or smell or medication interferences – seniors should watch how their diet changes.
It's important to consume enough good calories and nutrient-rich foods to ensure organs, muscles and bones stay strong, according to Healthline. If seniors notice weight loss associated with a diminishing appetite, they should consult their doctor.
5. Remember calcium
No one can forget those "Got Milk" commercials from the early the 1990s. While the slogan may be the most memorable, the ads contained a strong message about the benefits of calcium. Foods and liquids that contain this element promote bone strength and overall health, according to Everyday Health. Seniors can also get the proper intake of calcium via a supplement regimen.