May 18, 2011
Aging isn’t easy, and ensuring proper nutrition can be challenging for individuals of any age. It is very important to become familiar with the body’s nutritional needs because vitamin and mineral deficiencies are more difficult to track in older adults, yet more important for long-term health. The aging process changes how the human body assimilates and absorbs vitamins and, as one ages, dietary needs change. As a person grows older, metabolism slows, muscle mass diminishes, appetite fluctuates, bones become weak and brittle, and the body’s organs do not operate as efficiently. However, by eating a well-balanced diet, chronic disease can be prevented.
To guarantee a long and healthy life, seniors should do the following:
- Eat more fruits and vegetables with moderate amounts of whole grains and lean protein.
- Reduce the amount of sweets in the diet. Seek to satisfy the sweet tooth by eating fresh or frozen fruits.
- Reduce sodium to control hypertension and prevent heart disease.
- Eat almonds, vegetables, and leafy greens to get appropriate amounts of calcium to keep bones strong.
- Aim for 30 grams of fiber per day from whole grains such as brown rice, oat bran, whole wheat and barley, fruits, vegetables, and nuts to support the digestive tract and prevent constipation. Eliminate or reduce refined “white” products such as white rice, white bread and store-bought cookies.
- If using antacids, choose foods rich in B vitamins such as nuts, seeds, broccoli, eggs and dark leafy greens. These foods also will promote energy and stable blood sugar levels throughout the day.
- Avoid hydrogenated fats when cooking and instead use healthy oils such as olive, grapeseed, avocado or coconut.
- Make certain to eat all the colors of the rainbow everyday to get a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.
- Steam or bake vegetables instead of frying them to trim excess fat and calories.
- Go easy on consumption of red meats and pork products as they are high in saturated fat and are closely tied to heart disease and stroke.
- Eat fresh fish and plant based protein including beans and legumes to get power packed fiber and nutrition.
- Eliminate refined sugar, soda, boxed meals, potato chips and pastries.
- Drink half your body weight in water each day to assure proper hydration.
- Exercise each day by taking a quick stroll after dinner or participating in low-impact classes like tai chi or yoga.
Changing one’s lifestyle and diet can be overwhelming and discouraging so it is best to incorporate changes slowly. Changing to a healthier diet will bring numerous benefits resulting in a better quality of life, less illness, and more independence.
Sarah is committed to assisting her clients to restore their wellness and health through proper nutrition customized for the individual. Through her own health challenges, she took an active role in healing herself through proper nutrition, conscious eating, and natural detoxification methods. As a Nutritionist, Sarah works in fulfilling her passion by coaching individuals of all ages to maximize their health and wellness. Sarah leads workshops on nutrition, provides nutritional counseling and instructs healthy cooking classes, as well as raw food culinary classes.