As we age, our healthy and body’s functions change. Because of this, seniors need to do their best and watch what they eat. From distinguishing the good fats from the bad, which fiber should one consume, and many other healthy consumption practices, seniors need to know what’s good for them. However, sometimes eating the right foods can be tough on the wallet, as many stores charge more for healthy and organic ingredients. However, with the right planning and knowledge (like knowing what foods seniors should avoid) , healthy and affordable senior living lifestyle is easy to do, regardless of budget.
What Changes Do Seniors Experience While Aging?
Even if someone exercises almost every day and maintain a steady diet, their body will still change as they age. It’s just the way human biology is and will be for many years to come. However, every human is different so these changes may or may not be present when comparing one person to another.
- A senior’s metabolism is significantly slower than those younger than them. It’s a natural part of the body aging but is more present if the senior is leading a sedentary lifestyle and lacking exercise. With slower metabolism, the body doesn’t burn many calories and requires more nutrients. Active senior men burn around 2,300 calories a day while women require around 1,800.
- A senior’s digesting changes greatly as they age. It now takes longer to digest food and because of this, the body might not get all the nutrients and vitamins it needs. A method to help this problem is to take in vitamin supplements rich in Vitamin B.
- Taste is a major factor in senior’s intake. Because of their medications and health conditions, side effects might occur if they eat certain foods. Lacking certain nutrient-rich foods might lead to poor health. Because of this, seniors need to find the right foods to eat even while taking certain medications that might disagree with them.
- Seniors tend to be more emotional in this stage of their life. Because of emotional issues they face (like depression caused by loneliness) they might refuse to eat or eat the wrong things. Either way, they might develop health issues that can lead to even worse conditions.
Foods to Eat For Healthy and Affordable Senior Living
The best way for seniors to keep their body strong, your weight down, stay energized, and keep your mind active and sharp is to eat healthy. Most of these options are great for those in affordable senior living, as they’re readily available to them and/or their communities’ caterers.
1. Fruits and Vegetables with a Variety of Colors
Most fruits and vegetables that have a natural and deep color are likely to be carrying more antioxidants and vitamins than others. According to Diane Stadler, an assisant professor of Medicine at Oregon Health and Science University, the deeper the color, the better it is for anyone, including seniors. Some fruits of this example would be dark red cherries, berries like raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries and blood oranges. As for vegetables, consider taking in more kale and spinach, which are pack with vitamins that seniors need on a daily basis.
As seniors get older, they need more calcium for the body. Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are an essential source for calcium that seniors of all lifestyles need (whether they are living on their own or in an affordable senior living community). Dairy products also contain Vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bones, because as seniors age, their bone structure slowly weakens.
3. Whole Grains
Whole grain foods like oatmeal, whole wheat breads and quinoa, have a lot of essentials and vitamins your senior body needs. The biggest contribution is that certain whole grains can offer protein, which helps in building muscles in seniors. Like bones, as we age, the muscles in our body weaken, thus needing sources of protein to maintain them.
Whole grains also provide a good source of fiber. Fiber helps heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels in seniors. A diet rich in fiber also fights off certain cancers that are common among the senior population like colon cancer and female breast cancer.
4. Lean Meats and Seafood
For those in affordable senior living communities, it’s likely that their meals contain various types of lean meats like fish, poultry, beef, and pork. That’s because they provide necessary proteins. However if they cook on their own or their catering isn’t careful, they need to be away of meats with fat in them. That kind of fat is saturated and can lead to bad cholesterol.
Speaking of proteins like fish, certain fish like salmon and tuna have omega-3 fatty acids, which are good fats for seniors. These fatty acids also help with fight off heart disease by lowering triglyceride levels in the blood. If the senior is taking inflammatory medications, it’ll enhance it. That is why fish oil supplements are full of omega-3 fatty acids.
Other Ways for Seniors to Maintain Better Health
In addition to taking the right food, seniors need to maintain a few other habits when it comes to their intake. One thing is for seniors to stay hydrated at all times. Regardless of age, you should try to have around eight glasses of water per day. Some of this hydration can be achieved through fruits and vegetable intake.
Supplements are a good thing for seniors to take in during their better years. Aside for the everyday multivitamin, certain seniors might benefit from B-complex and Calcium-rich supplements. In order to avoid cross-mediation problems, make sure your doctor knows what supplements are taking. They’ll be able to find out if there are any complications.
In the end, watching your intake as a senior is important. Whether it’s the supplements you take in the morning or the meal you’re eating at night, know what you are taking in should be important. That way you have the best affordable senior living lifestyle.