As you continue to grow older, your nutritional requirements will change. Of course, everyone can benefit from consuming more essential nutrients and less artificial ingredients, but this becomes even more crucial once you’re over the age of 65.
On average, senior adults are at an elevated risk for multiple chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, stroke, arthritis, respiratory issues, heart disease or cancer, The Journals of Gerontology 1https://academic.oup.com/psychsocgerontology/article/77/10/1867/6591182?login=false reports. However, you can help manage this risk with smart, wholesome dietary habits. Make informed choices for your own health with these nutrition tips.
Eat Lean Protein for Strong Bones and Muscles
According to the Cleveland Clinic, sarcopenia—a loss of musculoskeletal mass and function—most commonly affects those over the age of 60. Weak muscles and frail bones can make it difficult to maintain your balance and perform daily activities, but consuming more lean protein sources will keep those bones and muscles strong. This will increase mobility and lower the risk of injuries as you age. Foods such as poultry, fish, beans, peas, soy, eggs, dairy, lentils, nuts and yogurt contain the protein you need to bolster musculoskeletal density.
Moderate the Sugar and Sodium You Consume
In trace amounts, these ingredients won’t harm you, but if your sugar or sodium intake is too high, this can lead to all sorts of health concerns. Excess sugar and sodium are both associated with markers of hypertension, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, which can cause strokes, blindness, heart attacks, diabetes or kidney failure over time. It’s crucial to watch your blood pressure levels in this stage of life. So instead of table salt, season your food with herbs, spices or citrus juice, and choose organic fruit over artificially refined sugars.
Try Foods or Supplements High in Vitamin B12
A team of researchers at Trinity College 2https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180626113338.htm in Dublin found that 1 in 8 adults over the age of 50 are deficient in Vitamin B12. This nutrient is essential for nerve and brain function, as well as the healthy production of red blood cells. But as common as this deficiency can be, it’s also quite preventable. You can boost Vitamin B12 intake by consuming more beef, dairy, eggs, salmon, tuna, sardines, nutritional yeast or fortified cereal. Another option is to consult with your doctor about taking a daily Vitamin B12 supplement in either chewable or liquid form.
Drink About 6–8 Cups of Water on a Daily Basis
The physical sensation of thirst often declines with age, which means that you might suffer from dehydration, but not even know it. This is why it’s so important to track your water consumption and aim for 6–8 glasses per day. Water provides all sorts of health benefits such as helping you maintain digestive function, spinal tissue protection, normal body temperature, skin elasticity, and joint lubrication and range-of-motion. Other drinks (such as green tea) or foods (such as melons, berries, citrus, cucumbers and broccoli) can also promote hydration.
Follow these Diet and Nutrition Tips to Stay Vibrant and Healthy as You Age
Becoming older is a natural part of life, but compromised mobility, fragile muscles and bones, or other chronic health issues don’t have to be. Your diet can mean the difference between vitality and illness, so be intentional about those eating habits.
Remember to consume nutritious whole foods, along with optimal water intake, on a daily basis. Or move into a senior living community, where nutrient-rich, chef-inspired meals with fresh, local and seasonal ingredients are cooked for you. These are the Golden Years, after all—a quality diet will ensure you’re around to enjoy them for as long as possible!
Additional resources and citations