If you are responsible for caring for a senior in your household, or are a senior yourself, it’s important to understand that certain nutritional challenges come about along with age. One of the most common knowledge about eating habits and aging is that metabolism slows down the more advanced in years you become.
There are plenty of other things you should watch out for, however, some of which include the following below.
Less Activity Means Fewer Calories Required
This is actually related to the slower metabolism. Because seniors become less physically active, the body requires fewer calories to fuel them with energy. Thus, metabolism also slows down because the expectation is that seniors will also be eating less. The challenge here is that because they are eating less, it must be ensured that whatever they eat will be packed with good nutrition.
Fewer Calories Do Not Mean Less Nutrition
Just because seniors may not need as many calories as before does not mean they don’t need to be nourished as much. In fact, it becomes all the more important for them to eat more nutritious food. Seniors are highly susceptible to age-related conditions like poor eyesight, lack of energy, or poor hearing. A good, balanced diet should help seniors be better equipped to counter these conditions.
Nutrient-rich foods that could benefit seniors include lean protein, low-fat dairy, whole grains, and of course, the good ol’ pairing of vegetables and fruits. This, of course, should be in consideration of any food sensitivities the senior might have already developed.
Staying hydrated remains to be a crucial factor in maintaining senior health. Much like the amount of food intake, however, liquid intake should also now be lessened. Seniors tend to become fuller faster, and as water is heavy, it could result in feeling bloated and uncomfortable.
Fizzy drinks like soda should be avoided to not trigger hyperacidity. Instead, warm tea and coffee could be served, as well as fruit juices. Just be mindful of the caffeine and sugar intake as well.
Keep a Softer Diet
Oral health issues are one of the natural side effects of aging. Lost teeth or ill-fitting dentures could affect digestive health. The connection is in the lack of ability to chew food properly. Food not chewed properly is harder to digest, which could make for a more uncomfortable situation for the senior.
Indigestion, hyperacidity, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea are but some possible resulting issues. If there are already oral health issues existing, it’s best to help the senior have an easier time with their meals by preparing easier to chew and digest foods. This doesn’t mean that they should only be served soups or mashed food items.
There are various cooking techniques that retain the flavor and texture of the dish, while simply making the ingredients more chewable, such as slow-cooking meat or boiling vegetables.
Making sure that seniors are able to eat well, so they can continue to receive the nutrition they need may seem daunting at first, especially, with all the new considerations and changes to be made. However, it does not need to be difficult, as long as you pay attention to their needs.
Seniors can still enjoy a good, hearty meal and be nourished accordingly, without putting their health at risk.