6 Foods Seniors Must Have in their Diets
As a senior, you may find your doctors shaking their heads to a number of your favorite meals. It could be a big slice of cheesy pizza, a medium-rare steak, or maybe a bowl of to-die-for Thai curry. Obviously, the doc's right about your health, so you decide to give up on all these delicacies.
But the next part is the one that's even more confusing: if you decide to dump your favorite recipes, what will you eat instead? What was wrong with your previous diet, and what should you do right in your new one?
Why Senior Diet Matters
A senior's diet is just as important as a human's diet in all other stages of life. However, the increased health risks, diseases, lifestyle changes, and medications can complicate a senior person's dietary choices more than ever before. To give you an idea about the health risks associated with diet at a senior age, here's what we can tell you about why a healthy diet may become difficult:
Poor Mental Health
It's no secret that seniors, despite having huge families with kids and siblings and grandkids, have a lot on their minds that they just can't get out. Your past life, regrets, wishes, etc., accumulate into mental pressure, which manifests in depression and poor mental hygiene. Naturally, you find yourself in a downward spiral and might start giving up on self-care. You may skip meals, eat days-old leftovers, and even avoid investing in a healthy diet.
Poor Physical Health
Your senses also start deteriorating with age. Your eyesight might not be a 6/6. You may develop a chronic flu-like condition, prohibiting healthy smell and taste abilities.
As a senior, you might also experience a loss of energy that enables you to function actively.
You may experience memory problems, such as dementia, Alzheimer's, etc., which may mess with your usual dietary routine.
Your medications may induce several side effects, such as loss of appetite, numbness, drowsiness, inflammation, indigestion, and so on.
All of this means that you won't always be able to arrange fresh, healthy food for yourself.
Another big factor that causes seniors to drop a healthy diet is trying to cut back on resources. You may not have enough to spend, you may not see any sense in spending well, or you may not want to ask your kids for help in any way. So, what do you do? You might start cutting back on grocery spending. You may even avoid fuel expenses by limiting your trips to the grocery store and restrict your supplies as a result!
Foods that Seniors Should Include in their Diet
The various reasons mentioned above may convince you to change your diet. So, the question stands, what should you be eating?
To get started, here are the must-have elements that every senior should ensure are a part of their diet:
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are the saviors for all those who are aging, not just seniors. These fatty acids show their maximum benefits on seniors whose health has significantly worsened.
Omega-3 Fatty acids can help curb inflammation, leading to rheumatism, arthritis, cancer, Macular Degeneration, memory issues, and heart problems. These are found in:
- Canola oil
- Supplements (only if prescribed)
As you grow old, your body's ability of water retention is lost, and this situation can get even worse if you're on medications that cause dehydration. In this stage, hydration is a vital concern in a senior's life. Otherwise, you may experience wrinkling, your wounds may not heal easily, and you may even experience severe drowsiness.
When we talk about water, we don't just mean good old 8-glasses-a-day philosophy. You can, and should, also keep your water intake optimal by consuming watery foods, such as cucumbers and watermelons.
Calcium is a vital need of our bones and blood levels. It helps maintain the strength and agility of our bones, makes it possible to heal bone injuries, and helps keep blood pressure within normal limits. A lack of calcium can lead to brittle bones and osteoporosis.
You can meet your calcium needs through juices rich in calcium such as:
- Orange juice
- Dairy milk
- Soy milk
- Almond milk
- Supplements (if prescribed)
If you find it too difficult to go to the supermarket to buy calcium-rich foods, don’t worry! Ohana’s Concierge Service can deliver all the groceries you need straight to your doorstep.
Fibers are a critical element in maintaining healthy bowel movement, a stable digestive tract and lowering the risk of heart diseases. Unfortunately, as you age, your digestive tract loses its efficiency. It often contracts in some spaces, sometimes resulting in indigestion, sometimes resulting in a loose bladder.
Foods abundant in fiber include:
- Whole-wheat cereal
- Whole-wheat grains
- Brown rice
Vitamin B12 is a compound that keeps your blood fresh and healthy, aids the production of red blood cells, assists nerve functions, and keeps your DNA safe. The deficiency of this compound can lead to anemia which makes it difficult to fight blood and heart-related diseases.
You can ensure vitamin B12 intake through the following foods:
- Beef, liver, and chicken
- Fish and shellfish such as trout, salmon, tuna fish, and clams
- Fortified breakfast cereal
- Low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese
- Prescription supplements
Magnesium is an aide in almost 300 physiological functions that take place throughout your body. For example, it keeps your heart functioning well. It provides strength to your bones and makes your immune system stronger against diseases, viruses, and heavy meds.
Magnesium can be found in:
- Supplements (prescription only)
As a senior, a proper diet is of paramount importance to your lifestyle and to your health. Even though there aren’t any major responsibilities or goals to accomplish, that doesn’t mean you should completely let go of a healthy diet. Instead, a balanced, doctor-approved diet can help you live your life much more easily, so you can say yes to an active and healthy retirement!