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Nutrition As You Age

As people age, nutrition needs change. For example, with a slowing metabolism comes reduced calorie needs. The body also needs different nutrients at different phases of life. Research has shown that the lack of a proper diet causes the majority of chronic diseases older adults suffer from. To stay on top of health, follow these 4 tips for adding essential nutrients to a daily diet.

1. Eat the rainbow

Vitamins and supplements provide a critical stopgap in getting essential nutrients. But the majority of a person’s vitamin and mineral needs should come from natural food sources. When putting together a meal, look for variety in color. Fruits and vegetables that are green, orange, red, blue, or purple all provide different nutrients. Add in a variety of lean protein sources, such as chicken, fish, eggs, or beans.

2. Focus on fiber

As people get older, the digestive system slows down. Digestive issues make fiber-rich foods more critical than ever. In addition to gut health, adequate fiber intake is directly linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. Look for whole-grain bread, pasta, cereal, brown rice, and fruits and vegetables. For some seniors, a doctor may recommend a daily supplement.

3. Know your ABCDs

One way to improve a diet is to know why specific vitamins are essential. Vitamins A, B, C, and D are all essential nutrients. Vitamin A is an antioxidant that is good for healthy vision, bones, and skin. The B family is necessary for proper nerve function, and vitamin C gives the immune system a boost. One of the most essential vitamins for seniors is vitamin D, which has been linked to the prevention of multiple sclerosis, type 2 diabetes, cancer, depression, and osteoporosis.

4. Drink your calories

No, this tip isn’t talking about a nightly glass of wine. Many seniors struggle with food preparation, and drinking smoothies or green juices are a great way to get proper nutrition with less effort. Seniors can add frozen fruits or vegetables to smoothies with milk or water. This promotes hydration, boosts fruit and veggie intake, and is often easier than cooking a full meal.

Stay on top of changing needs

Good nutrition is important at any stage of life. As people age, proper nutrition is essential to maintaining good health and living longer. People who have questions about senior nutrition should speak with a healthcare provider to learn more.