In this article I share the main reasons why nutrition is critical for healthy aging and give tips to live healthier and longer.
Nutrition is one of the most important factors that influence the health and well-being of people of all ages. But it is particularly crucial for the older generation.
As we age, our bodies undergo physiological changes that affect our nutrient requirements, as well as our ability to digest and absorb food.
Therefore, to maintain good health, seniors should pay attention to what they eat.
Or actually I should say “we” – as I was born in 1960 – and I wrote a best-selling, health-boosting longevity book, Life is Long.
Inside my book I share a range of health tips to slow down the aging process – so you can live longer, healthier, younger, more energetically.
But in this article I’m going to focus simply on the main reasons why nutrition is critical for healthy aging – for both men as they age – and women too.
Prolonged poor nutrition in the elderly can lead to several health problems. This includes malnutrition, muscle weakness, bone fragility, cognitive decline, and chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Thankfully these risks can all be reduced by giving your body the high quality of nutrition it needs.
So coming up I will explore the key reasons why nutrition is critical for healthy aging. We will also look at the steps you can take to make sure you are getting the optimum amount you need.
There are several reasons why good nutrition is critical for seniors. But here are six of the most important of them.
As we age, our bones become less dense, which increases the risk of fractures and osteoporosis. Adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D is crucial for maintaining stronger bones and reducing the risk of both.
Chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer are common in old age. It can be prevented or managed by consuming a diet that is healthy and rich in vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats like Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
Age-related muscle loss, known as sarcopenia, is a common problem in older adults that can lead to weakness, frailty, and disability.
A good way to counteract this is to consume lots of protein, as this is good for building and maintaining muscle mass and strength.
The immune system weakens with age, making older adults more susceptible to infections.
A diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can help to support the immune system and reduce the risk of infections. Additionally, protein also helps to support the immune system and, in particular, promotes wound healing.
The older we get, the less efficient our digestion and bowel function can become, which could lead to constipation and other digestive problems.
Upping your intake of fibre and water can help to promote healthy digestion and bowel function.
Good nutrition is important for brain function and can help to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
The likes of B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants are some of the nutrients that support brain health and function.
To ensure better health, one of the most important things that older adults can do is eat a balanced diet.
But what exactly is a balanced diet?
Well, essentially, this involves eating a variety of foods that are good for you across all the different food groups. This includes lots of vegetables and fruits, as well as lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats.
If you do this, you are giving your body every chance of operating at an optimum level.
Eating a healthy diet might sound like an easy enough thing to do. However, for some seniors, it can be a bit of a challenge for several reasons.
Firstly, the older you get, the more your appetite tends to decrease. So, some elderly people find it difficult to eat enough food to meet their nutritional needs. Additionally, some seniors can often develop difficulty chewing or swallowing as they age, which can make it harder to eat certain foods.
It is also true that some older Australians may have financial constraints that prevent them from buying the range of foods necessary to consume a balanced diet.
They may also suffer from social isolation, which may make eating meals alone less enjoyable, as well as a lack of transport to get to the shops. Furthermore, food allergies and chronic health conditions like diabetes may also prevent them from eating certain foods.
So, what can be done to overcome these challenges?
Thankfully, there are several strategies older people can adopt to maintain a healthy diet.
For a start, they can eat smaller portion sizes, but on a more frequent basis throughout the day. This can help to maintain energy levels and and nutritional needs.
In addition, they can also focus on eating nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. These will provide the nutrients needed without overeating.
Although a balanced diet is the right direction for seniors, it might be a good idea to take products like Nutricia’s nutritional supplement for an extra boost. But be sure to always consult with a healthcare professional.
Another strategy to consider: become more savvy with technology. This makes it easier to access healthy foods via online shopping.
The older we get, the more important it is to pay attention to what we eat to maintain good health.
So, elderly Aussies should focus their attention on getting more protein, calcium and vitamin D, B vitamins, fibre, and omega-3 fatty acids into their bodies.
The best way to do this is through a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods from all the different food groups. Although nutritional supplements may be useful too. Despite the challenges older people face, these tips will better ensure a good quality of life. In the best-case scenario, it may even prolong life for a few more years, which is reason enough to do it.