Staying Healthy: Everyday Dietary Tips for Seniors

March 20, 2019

iStock-906818396As we grow older, our dietary needs change. The foods we used to love may not agree with us anymore, and lifestyle changes might be necessary for the benefit of our health.

But that doesn’t mean that we can’t still enjoy our favorite meals; instead, it means we must be more aware of what we’re eating and sometimes make healthier choices. Here are some foods to both avoid and seek out as we get older in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle – and remember

to always check with your doctor first before making any major dietary changes.

Avoid: High-Sodium Foods

Too much salt in a diet can lead to health problems, especially for those with a history of hypertension. The Food and Nutrition Board recommends anyone over the age of 70 to limit their sodium intake to 1,200 milligrams per day, or around two-thirds of a teaspoon. A good way to cut back on salt is to read the labels of any pre-packaged foods you buy – you may be surprised by the amount of sodium you find. And if your food is bland, try adding different herbs and spices for added flavor rather than table salt.

Seek Out: Fish

Fish is a wonder food for seniors containing many nutrients that are beneficial. Seafood is high in omega-3 fatty acids which have been found to combat heart disease,

Alzheimer’s, and degenerative eye diseases, to name a few. If you don’t like seafood, Omega-3 supplements are available; however, they don’t have the same amount of nutrients you would get from eating fish alone.

Avoid: Caffeine

Not only can caffeine keep you awake, it can also in- crease anxiety and make your heart beat irregularly – which is highly dangerous for anyone with a heart condition. It may be best to avoid caffeine altogether, but sodas should especially be avoided since they also contain huge amounts of sugar as well as caffeine.

Seek Out: Water

It sounds simple enough, but how often do we go through most of our day without drinking any water? As we age, we tend to have a reduced sense of thirst, meaning we may miss the telltale signs of dehydration. Drinking water every day is important to overall health, though how much of it varies by the individual. Make sure to ask your doctor how many glasses of water per day you should be drinking, especially if you have kidney or liver issues.

Avoid: Empty Calories

Foods like potato chips, donuts, or French fries may satisfy hunger, but they won’t provide you with any nutrients you need; instead, all they’ll give you are a few extra pounds to work off. And since our activity levels tend to drop off as we get older, working off extra weight only gets harder. Avoid the situation all together by saying no to empty calories.

Seek Out: Fiber

Our digestive system slows as we get older, which can lead to issues like constipation. Foods rich in fiber help to move food through the digestive track and have also been shown to help combat heart disease and high cholesterol. Wholegrain breads and pastas, brown rice, and vegetables are just a few foods rich in fiber.

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