As we age, our bodies have different nutrition needs. Certain nutrients become even more important than when we were younger.
For National Nutrition Month, we’re going to be discussing the importance of nutrition in older adults.
To start off the month, we have a few general guidelines for eating healthy as you age.
1. Calcium and Vitamin D
Older adults need more calcium and vitamin D to help maintain healthy bones. It’s recommended that you have three servings of vitamin D-fortified low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt each day. Other calcium rich foods include:
- dark green, leafy vegetables (like collard greens and kale)
- Broccoli and broccoli rabe
- Bok Choy
- Canned Salmon
- While Beans
2. Vitamin B12
This nutrient helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy. It also gives you more energy. B12 helps you think clearly and it helps replicate DNA in your cells. It’s very important! These might not be the most popular food items, but here are a few good examples of some B12 rich foods:
- Shellfish like cooked clams, oysters, and mussels
- Liver (beef, liverwurst sausage, pate de foie gras, and chicken pate)
- Fish like mackerel, smoked salmon, herring, tuna, canned sardines, and trout
- Crustaceans like crab, crayfish, shrimp, and lobster
The most important reason to eat fiber rich foods is to stay regular. It also helps lower your risk for heart disease, control your weight and prevent type 2 diabetes. Try these fiber rich foods:
- Whole grain breads and cereals
- beans and lentils
- brussels sprouts
Don’t just increase your potassium intake, but decrease your sodium (salt) to lower your risk of high blood pressure. Try to choose food that are low in sodium, reduced sodium or no salt added. If you’re cooking from scratch, try not to add too much salt.
- Fruits, vegetables and low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt are great sources of potassium
5. Fats – good and bad
Foods that are low in saturated fats and trans fat help reduce your risk or heart disease. Most of the fats you eat should be polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. This means that the fats have a double bond or a more than double bond in their biochemical make up. These fats are better for your heart because they provide more membrane fluidity than monounsaturated fats.