Your dietary needs can change as you grow older. To stay healthy, Empatia™ Home Care and Staffing lists some dietary considerations that you should think about. As a reliable provider of home health care in New York, NY, we offer these tips in the hopes of helping seniors live healthier, happier lives.
- Vitamins and Minerals
Compared to younger people, older adults have different vitamin and mineral requirements. Talk to your nutritionist or healthcare provider – they can advise you on the appropriate levels that you need. If you are not able to reach the levels that you need through food alone, there are numerous vitamin and mineral supplements available in the market today. However, make sure to consult your healthcare provider to make certain that the supplements you are taking will not cause drug reactions to certain medications that you are already taking.
Older adults typically need to consume higher amounts of protein compared to what they consumed when they were younger. This is because as you age, your body experiences a lot of changes and stress, as well as general loss of protein from internal organs and muscles. Protein deficiencies in older adults can result in fragile skin, more infections, weakness, and longer healing times. However, if you have certain diseases (i.e. liver or kidney disease), your protein intake should be limited. Before making any major changes, make sure to discuss your daily protein intake with your physician first.
As you age, your body loses some of its ability to regulate fluids. This means that you might not feel thirsty even when your body needs more fluids. This can put you at risk of being dehydrated, which can result in constipation, dry gums, reduced urine output, low-grade fever, and even confusion.
Management and Tips
There are specific foods that you should base your diet on. As much as possible, try to include the following in your daily meals:
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Whole Grains
- Low-Fat Dairy Products
- Lean Meats and Fish
- Legumes and Nuts
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
To make the most out of your meals, here are some additional tips:
- Prepare and have bowls of nutritious snacks (i.e. dried fruits and nuts) within easy reach
- Add spices, herbs, and other seasonings to your foods to add more flavor. Avoid overcooking.
- Do you fill up quickly? Consider eating 5 or 6 small meals per day, rather than 3 large meals.
- Don’t want to eat alone? Try organizing regular meals with your family and friends.
- If you are taking medications that decrease your appetite, talk to your healthcare provider to see if you can switch to another medicine.
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