Older Americans face more health complications, from obesity to heart disease and diabetes. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important for your overall health, especially as you age. Recently, The National Council on Aging published an informative guide on the foods essential in keeping older hearts and bodies healthy. This should give you some great ideas on how to eat and live a healthy life. It may even inspire you to cook new things in your kitchen too!
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
This important amino acid is known for its anti-inflammatory properties that protect against heart disease. Omega-3 is found in fish, flaxseed, soybeans, canola oil, and walnuts. Studies have also shown that these fatty acids may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Nutritionists advise eating at least 2 servings a week.
Calcium is important for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. If you are not getting enough calcium, skeletal health may decline, leading to fragile bones and osteoporosis. Calcium-rich food includes leafy green vegetables, fortified cereal, and dairy products. People +50 should consume 1200 mg of calcium daily, which can be found in milk, fortified, and fortified juice. If you are vegan or lactose intolerant, there are many plant and nut-based alternatives that are also fortified with calcium.
Fiber is essential for digestive health and preventing diseases such as colon cancer. Since aging digestive systems may slow down, it is important to eat fiber-rich foods. Foods rich in fiber may help you lose weight as fiber makes you feel full. Fiber-rich foods include nuts, whole-grain cereal, bread and pasta, brown rice, fruits, and vegetables.
Drinking eight glasses of water daily is very important because aging bodies conserve less water. Seniors just don’t feel that thirsty. However, stay hydrated! Less water can result in dehydration which can cause sleepiness and confusion. If drinking 8 glasses of water daily seems overwhelming, try putting water in smaller bottles, drinking throughout the day. Consult with your physician about the best quantity of water if you have kidney or liver disease.
Iron produces hemoglobin which carries oxygen in the blood from the lungs to the rest of the body. An iron deficiency, known as anemia, impacts the supply of oxygen to body tissues. You can end up feeling tired and lethargic. Potatoes, leafy green vegetables, and beans are great sources of iron
This vitamin has antioxidant properties believed to prevent cancer and heart disease. On top of that, Vitamin C is well-known for boosting immune system health. It is also involved in the production of collagen, which promotes healthy skin and helps repair bones and teeth. Vitamin C is found in many fruits and vegetables and can be found in supplements too.
The antioxidant properties of Vitamin C are believed to prevent cancer and heart disease. It also involves the production of collagen, which promotes healthy skin, repairs bones, and teeth, and helps heal wounds. Vitamin C is mainly found in fruits and vegetables. Supplements are also available upon approval from your medical provider.
Vitamin D helps absorb calcium which helps maintain bone density, preventing osteoporosis. It may also protect against chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and rheumatoid osteoporosis. Vitamin D is produced by the skin via sunlight. A vitamin D deficiency also increases your chances of falling, so include fortified foods such as cereal, milk, and juice in your daily diet. Also, note that vitamin D is found naturally in eggs, salmon, and tuna.
Older adults have more difficulty absorbing vitamin B12 which is responsible for healthy nerve function and the production of red blood cells. Ask your health care provider about vitamin supplements and include dairy products, eggs, and fortified foods in your diet. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, there are alternative meat products such as Impossible Burger and Beyond Beef that are fortified with Vitamin B12, which occurs naturally in animal products, but not in plants.
Seniors often do not take the recommended 4700 mg of daily potassium. This mineral aids in cell function reduces blood pressure, strengthens bones, and lowers the risk of kidney stones. Potassium is found in fruits and vegetables such as bananas, prunes, and potatoes. However, be aware that too much potassium can be dangerous, so ask your doctor before considering supplements.
Aging bodies absorb less magnesium. It helps maintain heart health and promotes a strong immune system and better bones. Magnesium is found in whole grains, nuts, fresh fruits, and vegetables.