Aging is hard on your body, so staying healthy is of the utmost importance. A key part of staying healthy is maintaining proper nutrition.
However, that’s easier said than done. Some research suggests that approximately one in four older adults suffer from poor nutrition. Seniors face a variety of roadblocks when it comes to staying healthy, from declining appetites to an inability to exercise.
With that in mind, senior nutrition is key to living a long, happy life. Keep reading to learn more about ways to stay healthy and live your best life into your older years.
Why is senior nutrition so important?
Your body experiences a variety of changes as you age that can make it much more difficult to stay on top of your nutrition. Some of the changes you may experience include:
- Need for fewer calories. With decreased mobility and a slower metabolism, your body doesn’t need as many calories to function. This doesn’t mean that you need fewer nutrients – that need doesn’t ever go away!
- Loss of appetite. Your senses of taste and smell can begin to diminish with age, making food less appealing. With a decreased need for calories, eating less isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s important to still eat enough to get your required calorie intake.
- Decreased bone density. As you age, your bones can soften or break easily, especially with health issues like osteoporosis.
- Decreased oral health. Similar to a loss in bone density, your teeth can begin to lose their structural integrity as you age. If you wear dentures, it can also cause problems if they begin to fit improperly.
- Higher risk of hospitalization. Your immune system isn’t as strong as it was when you were younger, and failure to keep up with your nutritional needs can easily land you in a hospital bed.
What should I do to keep myself healthy?
It doesn’t need to be a full time job to keep yourself healthy. By simply paying attention to your food intake, you can keep your body working at its best.
Eat the right foods
Healthy eating for seniors helps to boost your immune system and ensures you meet your nutritional needs. Some of the foods you need to include in your diet are:
- Vegetables and fruits
- Fiber-rich foods like peas and lentils
- Whole grains
- Dairy and other calcium-rich foods
Planning meals can be a fun, collaborative activity. Work with friends or family to serve a healthy meal that all can enjoy. You can also be creative about how to present your food or what seasonings or flavors to incorporate. Not only is cooking great for you physically, it comes with many psychological benefits as well.
Maintain food safety
Your immune system weakens as you age, making you more susceptible to illness. This makes food safety even more important, as food poisoning can quickly turn into a severe health risk. Follow these tips to stay safe while you dine:
- Store your food right. Don’t thaw a frozen item before you’re ready to cook it or you may run the risk of dangerous bacteria growing in it. Check the expiration dates on your food often to prevent yourself from eating food that has become unsafe to eat.
- Clean. All surfaces should be cleaned with warm, soapy water before and after you prepare food on them. Cleaning surfaces also helps to prevent cross-contamination between foods. Wash your hands often during the cooking process to keep bacteria off them as well.
- Keep your food at a safe temperature. Whether you’re preparing the food or storing it, keeping it at the right temperature is paramount to food safety. When preparing food, use a cooking thermometer to check if the food is safe to eat. When storing food, check the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer and be aware if food has been too cold or too hot for a long period of time.
Culpepper Place works hard to ensure that all of our residents receive healthy meals and opportunities for exercise, fostering a healthy environment.
Contact us and find out more about our emphasis on wellness and wellbeing at Culpepper Place.