Eating Healthy as We Age
A new year means new beginnings for many, especially when it comes to fitness and weight loss goals. Eating well and staying physically active is important no matter how old you are, but a healthy diet and proper nutrition helps older adults lower their risk of developing chronic health conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
As we age, our bodies develop different nutritional needs, so certain nutrients become particularly important for maintaining good health.
At The Rehabilitation Center of Lake City eating well is a way of life. Our dietary department can help ensure you’re getting the right nutrition and proper rehabilitation that you need to support your changing healthcare needs.
How can nutrition help me stay healthy as I age?
Aging is linked to a variety of changes like nutrient deficiencies and decreased quality of life. Though older adults may not need as many daily calories, their nutrient needs are just as high if not higher than when they were younger. That’s why it’s extremely important to eat nutrient-rich, whole foods every day. A diet that’s full of saturated fats and trans fats accelerates aging, while a nutrient-rich diet that’s full of fiber and low on calories can slow the pace of aging. Here are a few easy changes you can make to help prevent nutritional deficiencies and other age-related changes:
- Drink (and eat) more water
Make sure to drink plenty of water and eat foods with high water content, like watermelon and cucumbers, to avoid dehydration and constipation. Older adults have a diminished sense of thirst, and their kidneys aren’t able to conserve water as well.
- Try supplements
A daily dose of B12, vitamin D and calcium help digestion and prevent bone loss—two things everyone needs additional help with as we age.
- Make the switch to nutrient-rich foods
Older adults need fewer calories—but they need just as many, if not more, nutrients than younger people. Making the switch to nutrient-dense foods like dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, fish and lean meats can help keep older adults healthy.
- Say yes to fiber
Digestion naturally slows with age, which can lead to constipation, bloating and gas. Eating fiber-rich foods will help promote proper digestion by moving food through the digestive tract more efficiently.
- Eat more Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3s are good for brain function and memory. Adding foods like salmon, tuna, trout, flaxseed and walnuts to your diet will help support a healthy brain.
At The Rehabilitation Center of Lake City, our senior rehabilitation services include ongoing nutritional guidance for eating well-balanced meals as our dietary needs change with age. Our certified dietary managers will help you maintain a healthy weight, stay energized and get the nutrients you need to live a long and healthy life.