Everyone can benefit from eating healthy food and maintaining a well-balanced diet. For seniors, this is especially important. According to the AARP, 60% of seniors are more likely to experience depression because of food insecurity.
For most, a healthy eating plan emphasizes fruit, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat or fat-free dairy; includes lean meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts; and is low in saturated fats, trans fats, salt (sodium) and added sugar.
Older adults can suffer from more severe negative health effects that come with a nutrient-poor diet. These can include weight issues, lowered immunity, cognition problems and weak muscles, joints and bones.
Seniors should always discuss their specific dietary and supplement needs with their physician. However, there are some nutrients that can be helpful for most and are found in a variety of delicious, enjoyable foods. Here are a few of the nutrients that are important for older adults:
- Omega 3 – These fatty acids help with brain function and reduce inflammation. They can be found in fish, nuts, seeds, and several other foods.
- Calcium – Not getting enough calcium can lead to osteoporosis, a condition that causes weak bones, and can contribute to severe injuries in the case of a fall. Calcium can be found in milk, cheese, and yogurt. For older adults that are sensitive to dairy, there are fortified juices, soy milk and almond milk that can provide this important nutrient.
- Fiber – Gastrointestinal issues can increase with age. It’s important for older adults to get the necessary serving of fiber through whole grain breads, brown rice, fruits and vegetables.
- Vitamin D – This vitamin plays an important role in how we feel physically and mentally – lack of Vitamin D has been linked to depression and exhaustion. While many people get Vitamin D from being in the sun, people with mobility issues can get it in their diets through fatty fish, cheese, egg yolks and fortified products.
There are many other nutrients that are important for seniors. People that have specific questions about their diet or the vitamins and nutrients they need should talk to a doctor or nutritionist. These experts can help someone evaluate their current diet and can help with healthy eating goals.
Comfort Keepers® Can Help
Nutrition becomes more important as we get older, and the trusted care team at Comfort Keepers can help. Our caregivers can help support physician-prescribed exercise regimens and diets and can help with grocery shopping and meal preparation. Our goal is to see that clients have the means to find the joy and happiness in each day and to support health and wellness goals.
To learn more about our in-home care services, contact your local Comfort Keepers location today.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Special Nutrient Needs of Older Adults.” Web. 2018.
WebMD. “Older Adults: 9 Nutrients You May Be Missing.” Web.
National Council for Aging Care. “Elderly Nutrition 101: Ten Foods to Keep You Healthy.” Web.
AARP Foundation Drive to End Hunger. Web.