Senior Health Foods You May Not Know About

Getting older has its challenges from the slowing of the metabolism to the higher risks of diseases. Recent scientific discoveries show that certain foods can heal, cure, and prevent disease and certain illness.

Why Are Senior Health Foods Guidelines Different?

While eating well is vital no matter our age, choosing specific senior health foods is vital due to the change in dietary needs at this time of life.  The nutrients we need change as we age.  This helps to explain why kids are given different nutritional guidelines from teens. Why young adults should eat slightly differently than older adults, and why seniors also have their own requirements.

As a senior, failing to eat the right health foods can be very problematic.  It can reduce health, quality of life, and longevity.  It can reduce energy levels and place a person at risk of unnecessary medical complications. Unfortunately, for many different reasons, seniors simply aren’t meeting their own basic nutritional requirements. This means that they’re experiencing varying degrees of malnutrition which can lead to symptoms that are easily misdiagnosed as illnesses or disease.

Said simply, our bodies change as we age but remain just as dependent on nutrition to function properly as always. Why do we stop making a priority of our nutritional needs as we become senior citizens? We recognize how critical it is for babies, children and teens.  We often try to fine tune our nutrition in adulthood as we experience firsthand the impact our food choices have on our weight, our energy levels and our overall wellness.  This seems to fade as we get older.

Changing Your Diet for the Better

It’s never too late to eat to a better you. Senior women (over 50) need about 1600 calories for a sedentary lifestyle, 1800 for moderate physical activity, and 2000 for an active lifestyle. Senior men (over 50) need about 2000 calories for a sedentary lifestyle, 2200 for moderate activity, and 2800 for an active lifestyle. Counting calories is not nearly as important as what kind of calories you are putting into your body.

Senior health foods guidelines:

Fruit – Focus on whole fruits rather than juices for more fiber and vitamins and aim for around 1 ½ to 2 servings each day. Break the apple and banana rut and go for color-rich pickings like berries or melons.

Veggies – Choose antioxidant-rich dark, leafy greens, such as kale, spinach, and broccoli as well as orange and yellow vegetables, such as carrots, squash, and yams. Try for 2 to 2 ½ cups of veggies every day.

Calcium – Maintaining bone health as you age depends on adequate calcium intake to prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures. Older adults need 1,200 mg of calcium a day through servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese. Non-dairy sources include tofu, broccoli, almonds, and kale.

Grains – Be smart with your carbs and choose whole grains over processed white flour for more nutrients and more fiber. If you’re not sure, look for pasta, breads, and cereals that list “whole” in the ingredient list. Older adults need 6-7 ounces of grains each day (one ounce is about 1 slice of bread).

Protein – Adults over 50 need about 0.5 grams per pound of bodyweight. Simply divide your body weight in half to know how many grams you need. A 130-pound woman will need around 65 grams of protein a day. A serving of tuna, for example, has about 40 grams of protein. Vary your sources with more fish, beans, peas, nuts, eggs, milk, cheese, and seeds.

Senior Health foods for Osteoporosis:

-d-fortified cereals
– cheddar cheese
– 1000 mg of calcium
– 77 g of protein

Senior Health foods for Heart disease:

-healthy fats such as raw nuts, olive oil, fish oil, flax seeds, avocados
-fruits and vegetables rich in color prepared without butter
-fiber from cereal, bread, pasta made from legumes or whole grains
-omega-3 and protein found in fish, shellfish, and poultry
-calcium found in egg whites, egg substitutes, skim milk, 1% milk, non fat cheese, yogurt, almond milk

Senior Health foods for Anemia:

-Breakfast cereals enriched with iron
-One cup of cooked beans
-One-half cup of tofu
-1 ounce of pumpkin, sesame, or squash seeds

Good sources of nonheme iron, with 2.1 milligrams or more per serving, include:

-One-half cup of canned lima beans, red kidney beans, chickpeas, or split peas
-One cup of dried apricots
-One medium baked potato
-One medium stalk of broccoli
-One cup of cooked enriched egg noodles
-One-fourth cup of wheat germ

Other sources of nonheme iron, with 0.7 milligrams or more, include:

-1 ounce of peanuts, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, roasted almonds, roasted cashews, or sunflower seeds
-One-half cup of dried seedless raisins, peaches, or prunes
-One cup of spinach
-One medium green pepper
-One cup of pasta
-One slice of bread, pumpernickel bagel, or bran muffin
-One cup of rice

Whether you are 25 or 95, eating a diet specific to your body type, lifestyle, and needs will improve overall health. Make sure to ask your doctor before starting a new diet. Be well.

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