We're not getting any younger!
As the population ages, and the proportion of people over the age of 60 increases, concerns for older adults are often at the forefront of the healthy eating debate. As we age, our bodies change and the requirements for staying healthy and well become more critical in order to avoid the diseases and disorders that can plague older adults. These include vision loss, hearing loss, digestive disorders, senility, arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease, among others.
Margin diminishes with age.
Because our bodies are miraculous machines, we do have some margin in our lives for neglect, especially when we are young. We can overeat, under sleep, over stress, etc. and our bodies forgive us, make the adjustments, and go on. But this is only true up to a point and, as we age, that point happens sooner and sooner. Eventually, there is little or no margin left, and we must toe the line or else our bodies will fail.
Age Concern: Older adults may be susceptible to a deficiency of Vitamin B-12 because the stomach may not contain the proper amount of hydrochloric acid causing poor absorption of this important B vitamin.
Recent studies have shown that post-menopausal women who pursue a low calorie diet to lose weight, will also lose muscle strength. This is because the combination of age and protein deficiency causes muscle wasting in addition to fat loss. One way to address this issue is to add several servings of whey protein to your low calorie diet. This will supply needed protein, as well as satiety, without adding too many calories for effective weight loss.
Here is a list of ways to address the age concern regarding healthy eating.
Healthy Eating Strategies for Older Adults
-Eat nutritious foods and avoid empty calories, including sugary and salty snacks.
-Eat a variety of fresh, whole foods with emphasis on fresh or lightly cooked vegetables and lean protein.
-Eat small, regular meals and healthy snacks.
-Include 25-30 grams of fiber each day.
-Choose low-fat dairy products and leaner meats.
-Avoid overeating, which taxes the digestive system.
-Get some healthy fats including Omega-3’s every day with fish, fish oil or freshly ground flax seed.
-Eat organic foods when possible, especially when choosing meat, dairy products and eggs.
-Stay active to help keep your digestive tract running smoothly.
-Maintain weight at an appropriate level.
-Get some sunshine (just not too much!) each day, whenever possible, to keep Vitamin D levels up.
-Enjoy your food and your life, and don’t forget to nurture your mind and spirit.