No matter your age, eating healthy is important. Good dietary habits play a crucial role in your health and can make a big difference in your quality of life.
Many seniors experience decreases in bone and muscle mass, lower levels of physical activity and metabolic changes that lead to changes in their dietary needs. While these changes may cause some older adults to lower their calorie intake, it’s also important to ensure one is getting enough nutrient-dense foods that are critical to supporting good health.
Benefits of Healthy Diet for Seniors
Eating a healthy, well-rounded diet provides many benefits, including:
- Lowering the risk of chronic illnesses like type two diabetes, heart disease and types of cancers
- Supporting immunity and healthy digestion
- Helping maintain a healthy weight
- Boosting energy levels, improving mood and promoting brain health
Here are some ways you can ensure you’re following a healthy diet that gives you as many of the above benefits as possible.
Eat a Variety of Foods
In order to get the nutrients you need, you want to make sure each meal you have includes a range of nutrient-dense foods:
- Protein: Eggs, beans, lentils and lean meats, like chicken breast and seafood. You should aim to get enough protein, typically around 55 to 70 grams, throughout the day.
- Carbs: Whole grains, like brown rice, oatmeal and whole wheat pasta and bread.
- Fats: Nuts, seeds and low-fat dairy products, like 2% milk or milk alternatives, cottage cheese and low-fat yogurts.
- Vitamins and Minerals: Fresh, canned or frozen fruits and vegetables.
The above foods can also help you get key nutrients like vitamin B12 and D, calcium, potassium and dietary fiber. Try to avoid foods that are high in saturated fats, sodium or added sugars as well as processed foods that are high-calorie but have low nutritional value.
While this may seem like a lot to try to remember, healthy eating can be made easy when you live at a senior living community that prioritizes providing nutritious meals for its residents – like we do at Newcastle Place.
Keeping hydrated can be challenging for older adults, as the thirst sensation tends to decline with age. This makes it all the more important to build habits that can help you stay on top of your fluid intake, like setting a reminder on your phone to drink water or bringing some with you while you’re out and about. Aim to drink eight cups of water per day. Low-fat or fat-free milk and unsweetened fruit juices along with water-rich foods, like cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries and soups can also help support hydration.
You will also want to limit or steer clear of soda and other sugary drinks, caffeine and alcohol. These can be dehydrating and lead to other health issues when consumed excessively. It’s recommended that men have no more than two alcoholic beverages per day, and women shouldn’t exceed one alcoholic beverage per day. It’s also recommended for the average, healthy senior to have no more than 400 mg of caffeine per day.
Be Aware of Your Personal Dietary Needs
If you currently have chronic illnesses and you’re taking medications to manage them, or if you have risk factors for chronic illnesses, you may need to make some dietary adjustments. For example, diabetics will need to closely track their sugar intake. Those with a higher risk for cardiovascular issues should minimize their consumption of red meat.
If you take certain medications to manage your health, you will want to be mindful of what interactions these medicines can have with any foods and supplements you consume. For example, grapefruit is known to interact with a few medications by decreasing your body’s ability to metabolize them, so your doctor may advise you to avoid it. Certain vitamins and minerals can also help support the metabolization of certain medications, so you will want to ensure you’re eating the right foods to reach your recommended intake. Discuss your medications and diet with your healthcare provider to ensure you’re setting yourself up for optimal health.
See What Healthy Eating Looks Like at Newcastle Place
At Newcastle Place, the health and wellness of our residents is our utmost priority, which is why we offer delicious and nutritious chef-prepared meals at our on-campus eateries. Healthy living doesn’t end with food at Newcastle Place.
As a vibrant and sophisticated senior living community in Mequon, Wisconsin, we provide a range of services and amenities to support our resident’s wellness – from exercise programs to social events to engaging classes to on-site medical services, and more.
Ready to see what living at Newcastle Place can look like for you? Contact us today.