Proper Elder Nutrition
As people progress in age, so do their dietary needs. It is extremely important that the aging follow a diet that will properly aid and nourish them. Elder nutrition doesn’t necessarily follow the same guidelines that young to middle aged adult nutrition does. Some specific and key elements must be incorporated to combat the aging process.
When we are young, we are told by our parents, families, and schools about how important it is to eat properly and to maintain a balanced diet. We are shown the pyramid and told that we should have a certain number of servings of this per day and different number of servings of that per day. And as we embark on this journey of a healthy lifestyle, there are usually people there along the way who guide us and help us in making the proper decisions. Well as we get older, fewer and fewer of those people are around, so it is important that we be able to make those decisions on our own.
When an adult advances to an older age, they become more susceptible to illnesses and diseases because of a decreased immune system. One of the best ways to combat this is to make sure that one follows a nutritious and healthy diet. That alone can aid in preventing many diseases that might otherwise become a real problem for those who are more advanced in life than others.
So you must be asking: what guidelines and standards should and older person be following when planning their diet? Here are some of the best guidelines to follow:
Place emphasis on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy products that are fat-free or low-fat.
Make sure to include lean meats, fish, poultry, beans, eggs, and nuts in your diet.
Eat food that is low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugar
To elaborate: you want to make sure you are getting enough of each recommended food group as follows:
You want to make sure that you are eating a variety of fruits (frozen, canned, fresh, dried, or otherwise). When following a 2,000 calorie diet, you will want to intake approximately 2 cups of fruit per day (that’s equivalent to approximately one large banana and one large orange).
Vegetables. When selecting vegetables, you will want to focus on dark green veggies such as broccoli, kale, and other leafy greens. Also include orange vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes, and be sure to intake a variety of beans like pintos or kidney beans. For someone on a 2,000 calorie diet, approximately 2½ cups of these kinds of vegetables should be eaten daily.
Calcium Intake. Each and every day, aging adults will want to include 3 cups of low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt. Low-fat cheese can also be very nutritious.
Whole Grains. On a standard diet (of 2,000 calories daily) 6 to 7 ounces of grains per day are needed. Half of this daily allotment should be whole grains. This could be whole grain pasta, bread, cereal, crackers, or rice.
Lean Protein. Select lean meats to either bake, broil, or grill. Also, vary your choices eating more fish, beans, peas, nuts, eggs, and seeds.
Be aware. Read the Nutrition Facts on each product to ensure that it is low in cholesterol and trans/saturated fats. You also want to look for foods that have high levels of vitamin D and vitamin B12. Also watch for sodium and added sugar levels.
With all of these guidelines in mind, it should be fairly simple for an older adult to adjust to a healthy and nutritious diet.
Wayne Abraham is the executive director and owner of Personal Care Inc. in Greensboro, NC. His company provides quality