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Healthy Eating for Older Adults

Updated: Jan 17

Eating a healthy diet as you age is important for maintaining overall health and well-being. As the body changes with age, certain nutrients become more important to focus on in order to support the aging process. Here are some tips for maintaining a healthy diet as you get older:

Nutrient dense foods:

Emphasize nutrient-dense foods. As you age, it becomes increasingly important to get the most nutrition out of the foods you eat. Focus on foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

Nutrient-dense foods are those that provide a high amount of vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients for a relatively low number of calories.

Here are some examples of nutrient-dense foods:

  • Fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and are low in calories. Examples include leafy greens, berries, oranges, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes.

  • Whole grains: Whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and oats are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and can help lower the risk of chronic diseases.

  • Lean proteins: Lean proteins such as chicken, fish, and legumes are rich in essential amino acids and can help to maintain muscle mass and strength.

  • Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds such as almonds, chia seeds, and flaxseed are a good source of healthy fats, protein, and fibre.

  • Dairy or non-dairy alternatives: Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese are a good source of calcium, while non-dairy alternatives like fortified almond milk, soy milk, and yogurt are rich in other important nutrients.

  • Legumes: Legumes such as lentils, black beans, and chickpeas are a good source of fibre, protein, and other important nutrients.

  • Fish: Fish such as salmon, sardines, and tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to reduce inflammation and improve heart health.

Remember to vary your choices, include a variety of colours and try to include a source of each nutrient daily. It's also important to keep in mind that nutrient density can also depend on how the food is prepared and cooked.

Limit Processed Foods:

Limit processed foods and added sugars. Processed foods and foods high in added sugars can contribute to weight gain and chronic health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Instead, opt for whole, unprocessed foods.

10 examples of processed foods:

Processed foods are foods that have been altered in some way through methods such as canning, freezing, drying, or adding preservatives, flavourings, or other ingredients.

Here are 10 examples of processed foods:

  1. Frozen meals: Convenience meals such as frozen pizzas, lasagnes, and TV dinners often contain high levels of sodium, sugar, and unhealthy fats.

  2. Canned soups and sauces: Canned soups and sauces often contain high levels of sodium and preservatives.

  3. Snack foods: Snack foods such as chips, crackers, and popcorn are often high in added salt and fat.

  4. Processed meats: Processed meats such as bacon, sausages, and deli meats often contain high levels of sodium and preservatives.

  5. Instant noodles: Instant noodles are often high in sodium and MSG.

  6. White bread: white bread is often made with refined flour, which has had many of the nutrients removed.

  7. Sweetened breakfast cereals: Many sweetened breakfast cereals are high in added sugars and low in nutrients.

  8. Energy bars: Many energy bars are high in added sugars and have a lot of artificial ingredients.

  9. Pre-made pastries: Pre-made pastries such as croissants, danishes, and donuts often contain high levels of sugar and unhealthy fats.

  10. Soft drinks: Soft drinks are often high in added sugars and have no nutritional value.

It's important to be aware of these types of processed foods and their potential health risks, and to limit their consumption. Instead try to opt for whole, unprocessed foods that are closer to their natural state. You can also check the nutrition label for the ingredients and nutritional information, it can be helpful in identifying the processed foods.

Get enough protein. As we age, our bodies become less efficient at processing protein, so it’s important to include it in your diet to maintain muscle mass and strength. Good sources of protein include lean meats, fish, eggs, and legumes.

Take supplements if necessary. If you have trouble getting enough of certain nutrients through your diet, such as vitamin D or calcium, consider taking a dietary supplement. Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement regimen.

Stay Hydrated:

Stay hydrated. Drinking enough water is essential for maintaining overall health and can help prevent dehydration, which can lead to fatigue, confusion, and other health problems. Aim for at least eight cups of water per day.

Be aware of food safety.

As you age, your immune system may not be as strong as it once was, making you more susceptible to food-borne illnesses. Be sure to properly store and prepare foods to reduce your risk.

Don't forget to enjoy your food! Eating should be a pleasure and not a chore. Eating with others or trying new recipes can help make mealtime more enjoyable.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that you are getting the nutrients you need to maintain good health as you age. Remember to talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian if you have any concerns about your diet or nutritional needs.

Sharon Shinwell, Clinical Hypnotherapist

Sharon has written and recorded several Self-Hypnosis downloadable session to address Health and Well-Being so why not take a look HERE

"This article represents the personal views and opinions of the author and should not be taken as representative of the official policy or position of any organization, professional, expert, or individual."

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