As people age, healthy eating is crucial to maintaining a high quality of life. Our bodies require extra care and attention at this time of our lives. The number of calories one needs begins to decline as we age. Therefore, it’s important that every calorie consumed is filled with the necessary nutrients aging bodies require.
Many older people notice that as they slow down, they need more rest and specific foods to feel energized. The diet one keeps as they age can make a big difference when it comes to longevity and energy. It is imperative that the right foods are included in one’s everyday lifestyle.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of choices to consider, and some people may not know where to begin when building their new healthy diet.
Starting Out: Foods to Avoid
Empty calories are dangerous as people age because they literally deny the body the vitamins and nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Though these food may have been part of one’s diet in the past, they should be avoided as they get older.
- Deep Fried Food: As people age they may notice dietary changes that prevent them from eating certain foods. The digestive system begins to slow down, requiring easy to digest foods that won’t cause a lot of strain on the stomach.
Fried food contains lots of fat, carbohydrates, and cholesterol, making it a difficult food to digest. Those with higher metabolisms can get away with consuming this food every now and again. Older bodies should avoid fried foods completely. Yes, we know, that’s hard to do!
- Processed Foods: Processed foods are those that have undergone procedures that strip them of their nutritional value in favor of additives such as artificial colors and flavors.
Due to the low nutritional value of these foods, they are known as being filled with empty calories that seniors really cannot afford. Consuming these foods can also cause digestive problems over time.
- Sweets: Loaded with sugar and filled with empty calories, sweets are not the best choices for seniors. These can be anything from candies and sodas to pastries and ice cream. While these foods are okay in moderation, they should certainly not be a part of the everyday diet. Eating too much sugar can increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease in older adults.
- Undercooked Meats: While this may seem like a food people at any age should avoid, it is especially dangerous for older adults to consume undercooked foods.
Due to their compromised immune systems and aging digestive systems, undercooked foods can cause serious damage that can lead to hospitalization or worse. Make sure that all meats, fish, and eggs are properly cooked before consumption.
The Best Foods For Older Adults
Whole foods that have retained their natural nutritional values are the best for everyone, especially as we age. These foods are rich in necessary nutrients and vitamins that older adults need to stay health and feeling great.
Not only will these foods provide energy and nutrition to the aging body, but they can also promote longevity when paired with other healthy practices like proper exercise, getting enough sleep, and practicing self-care. Those over 50 should add the following to their everyday diet:
- Fruits: Fruits contain good sugars as well as vitamins and nutrients the body needs to carry out standard functions. Citrus fruits like grapefruit, oranges, and limes are high in Vitamin C. Dark fruits like berries, pomegranates, and cherries are high in antioxidants.
These fruits are excellent for slowing the aging process by eliminating toxins in the body. Bananas, plums, and prunes are fruits high in potassium, which helps keep ones strong and cells functioning correctly.
- Veggies: High in folic acid, which is an essential B vitamin known for combating anemia and poor nerve function, vegetables are a necessary staple for any diet.
Leafy green veggies like kale, spinach, and arugula are a delicious and nutritious way to add folate to one’s diet.
- Dairy: Older people definitely need calcium in their diet. Some people prefer to consume raw milk products while others will stick with the standard pasteurized dairy products. Either way, calcium is a “must” for optimal health as we age.
This nutrient is most important for building and maintaining strong bones, but it also plays many other major roles in the body. Avoid brittle bones and the risk of fractures by adding calcium to the everyday diet. Whole food supplements are also a good way to add calcium to your diet. Check with a health foods store to decide which one is best for you.
- Grains and Beans: These foods are high in fiber which is highly important for seniors. As the digestive system slows down, irregularity can become a problem for many older adults.
By consuming fiber rich foods like beans, whole grains, and some fruits and veggies, older adults can keep themselves regular and maintain a healthy colon.
How The Right Diet Encourages Longevity
Just as children require certain nutrition and care options, older adults do as well. As we age, we are winding down physically and mentally. While this is natural, it doesn’t have to be final.
The healthy eating and lifestyle practices can actually slow the aging process into a gradual progression, offering “seniors” years of energy and vitality. They can actually do what they want with their time and enjoy it in the process.
When the right nutrients and vitamins are regularly fed to the body, all the systems function well and vital organs maintain health and vitality.
With healthy eating, the body can keep going strong for years to come!