Nutrition? What’s Important to Seniors?
As we age, our metabolism slows down and we need fewer calories. So nutrition is important. Nutrition is important for proper bodily functions. It’s important that the calories we consume are from nutrient-rich foods. Nutrition is important for proper function of the digestive, circulatory and nervous systems. Proper nutrition can ward off potential health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
What Are Nutrient-Rich Foods?
There are many healthy food choices from all the food groups. But here are some that you may not have thought of:
- Healthy Fats include the Omega-3 Fats, have been shown to help rheumatoid arthritis, macular degeneration and Alzheimer’s. Healthy fats include seeds, walnuts, soybeans, avocados, fatty fish and canola oil
- Fiber promotes a healthy digestive system. Add more whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables to your diet.
- Protein maintains your immune system and muscles. Lack of protein increases risk of infections and pressure sores, falls, broken bones and dental issues. Foods containing protein include beans, eggs, chicken, fish and lean meats.
How Much Protein Should I Eat?
Women should get 45 grams of protein per day. Men should get 60 grams. For reference, one egg white has 7 grams of protein, 1 string cheese has 8 grams, and a can of tuna or chicken has close to 40 grams.
Protein foods usually require the ability to cook and chew which may be difficult for some. However, eating enough protein may help you lose some extra pounds.
NOTE! If you have kidney problems, ask your doctor about your protein needs.
Need help or have questions about your nutritional needs?
For a complete dietary assessment call AW Health Care at 314 330 7992.
Vitamins and Supplements…Do I Really Need These?
Here vitamins and supplements commonly prescribed for seniors:
- Vitamin D: Recommended daily dose is 800 to 1,000 IUs for women past menopause
- Vitamin B12: Important for healthy nerve function. Fish, meat poultry, eggs, milk and milk products
- Folate/Folic Acid: Helps avoid anemia and is found in many fruits and vegetables
- Calcium: Important for strong bones and is found in dairy foods and deep-green vegetables
- Potassium: Good for bone health, cell function and kidney stone risk
Fluids: Every Drop Counts
The body is normally made up of 60% water which falls to about 50% in seniors due in part to a decreased sensation of thirst. Water is needed to transport nutrients to your cells and transport waste out of the body. In order to move and flex your muscles, you need water.
If your body is dehydrated, your muscles will be deprived of electrolytes and cramp. Other symptoms of dehydration are lightheadedness when standing, heart palpitations, nausea and weakness.
Some commonly prescribed medications for blood pressure and depression may also cause dehydration including blood pressure and anti-depression medications.
Drink 9 glasses (1 glass = 8 oz.) of fluid per day.
If you have kidney or heart problems, ask your doctor for specific amounts of fluids. All liquid count! That includes milk, soup, coffee and tea, popsicles and some fruits and vegetables too.