One surprising problem that arises with age is making sure you eat enough. As we grow older, a loss of appetite can occur as a side effect of many medications.
Food assistance programs tend to focus on children, and there is not enough awareness of the need for programs for older adults. Having meals prepped ahead of time and reminders to eat can make all the difference. Fuel is energy and if you don’t eat, you won’t have energy.
Making sure your loved ones are eating enough throughout the day is a critical part of their health and happiness.
Since March was National Nutrition Month, it is a good reminder that a well-balanced diet is essential for any aging body to be healthy and strong. Here are 6 ways to improve your nutritional health as you age:
1. Consume Lots of Liquids
As you age, your sense of thirst decreases even though your body needs the same amount of water. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day, even if you aren’t thirsty, will keep your body hydrated. There are plenty of hydrating alternatives to water, like drinking low-fat milk, eating vegetables and fruit, or consuming broth-based soups.
2. Reduce Sodium Intake and Processed Foods
Sodium can cause high blood pressure,and adding table salt to your food only accounts for a fraction of the sodium content in food. In fact, most processed and frozen foods contain an extremely high amount of sodium and should be avoided. Eating fresh food is always the best option to avoid consuming more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium every day.
3. Eat Small Meals
At times, it is easy to forget to eat or you may not know how or want to cook a meal from scratch. Older people should consume small meals every three hours throughout the day, rather than the typical three larger meals. This helps maintain a healthy weight and increases muscle mass. The U.S. Department of Agriculture suggests using MyPlate to visualize a healthy plate that contains plenty of vegetables and fruits.
4. Medications and Supplements
Aging adults may be prescribed medications to manage health conditions. Some medicine can interfere with your appetite or change the way certain foods taste which can make getting the nutrients your body needs difficult. Vitamin or mineral supplements can compensate for this loss of nutrients, be sure to ask your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet.
Eating is a great time to socialize and meet new people. At Inverness Village, we make an effort to ensure residents are meeting new people and having fun while they eat. This creates a positive atmosphere around meal times that people look forward to. If you live at home, consider joining a community group!
6. Oral Health
Oral care is very important for older Americans. As you age, you may develop pain in your teeth or need dentures. Oral health problems, like dentures that don’t fit properly or a tooth ache, can interfere with your ability to eat. Teeth should not become a limitation and prevent someone from getting the nutrients they need to stay healthy.
Nutritional needs vary from one person to another, but as you age it is important to keep these factors in mind to stay healthy.