The right food and nutrients for seniors

A proper diet is vital for the body to get the right nutrients in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle especially for the elderly. When you age, healthy eating changes a little as your metabolism slows down. This means your body will require more of certain nutrients especially if you suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes or a heart condition. 

An elderly person’s diet should definitely contain fruit, vegetables, lean meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts. What one should avoid is food high in saturated fats, salt and added sugars. 

Many seniors tend to cut back on food due to loss of appetite, however it is very important to take in the right nutrients to fight degenerative diseases such as osteoporosis. 

So, here’s a list of food we recommend if you’re caring for an elderly person. 

  1. Food rich with Omega-3

Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid and one of its most important benefit is that it has an anti-inflammatory effect which helps with diseases like arthritis and heart problems. A diet high in fatty fish which also contains Omega-3 helps prevent memory loss, Alzheimer’s and dementia, among older people. 

Recommended food high in Omega-3: 

  • Fish: salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines)
  • Nuts: flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts
  • Plant oils: flaxseed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil

2. High fibre food 

Our digestive system slows down as we age, hence a high fibre diet is essential. Food rich in fibre does not only promote proper digestion but also reduce the risk of heart disease as it lowers cholesterol levels. 

Recommended food high in fibre: 

  • Fruits: apples, strawberries, bananas and pears
  • Vegetables: broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots and artichokes 
  • Nuts and seeds: chia, almonds and lentils 

3. Calcium 

As you’ve probably heard it before, we’d like to highlight the importance of calcium in one’s diet. Known to help with healthy bones, calcium also is vital to lower your blood pressure. Without calcium, your bones will become brittle, which may lead to osteoporosis. Hence, why the calcium intake recommended for seniors is higher.

Recommended food high in calcium: 

  • Green leafy vegetables: kale, spinach and bok choy
  • Dairy products: milk, cheese and yogurt
  • Fortified food: tofu, almond milk, cereal and oatmeal 

4. Vitamin B12

Also known as cobalamin, this vitamin is important for the elderly as it creates red blood cells and DNA which helps maintain the nerve function. Vitamin B12 deficiency causes anaemia which can lead to trouble with walking, blurred vision, shortness of breathe and changes in mood. Therefore Vitamin B12 is a necessary vitamin when one ages. 

Recommended food high in Vitamin B12: 

  • Dairy products: milk, cheese and eggs 
  • Poultry: meat and fish

To sum it up, seniors require a balanced diet to keep chronic diseases at bay. A healthy diet should also be balanced with some physical activity as well as constantly staying hydrated. Make sure to be always on the lookout for supplements that can help you get the right nutrients and vitamins you need.