The Inside Scoop on Seniors & Nutrition

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posted by Ted Ryan on April 23, 2014

You know that it’s important to get proper nutrition, but are you aware of its growing significance as we age? Eating can play a key role in staying healthy and independent in later years of life.

Why is Nutrition Important to Seniors?

  • Promotes good health and fights chronic disease.
  • Promotes energy and maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Maintains muscle mass, which helps prevent falls and injury.
  • Helps maintain proper digestion and bowel function.
  • Reduces unwanted side effects of medications.

How to Maintain a Nutrient Rich Diet

As your body ages and metabolism slows, it becomes more important to seek foods with a lot of nutrients and fewer calories. It’s also important to know how different foods and supplements may interact with medications – which I’ll cover next week, with the help of SHC’s nurses.

  • Fruits and vegetables have important vitamins and minerals and little to no fat or cholesterol. Eat a variety of types and colors each day.
  • Grains are foods made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal or barley. Whole grains are better sources of energy, fiber and nutrients than refined grains, such as white flour or white rice. Look for “whole wheat” or “whole oats” rather than “wheat” or “oats” on ingredients lists.
  • Dairy provides calcium and vitamin D to maintain strong bones. Low-fat or fat-free dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, should be included in your daily diet.
  • Protein helps build and maintain muscle and skin. Seafood, meats and poultry are good sources of protein. Try to buy lean cuts or low-fat products.
  • Liquids help prevent constipation and dehydration. Besides water, other good liquids include unsweetened tea, low-fat or fat-free milk and 100% fruit juice.

Speak with a doctor before making dietary changes. Their knowledge of existing medical conditions and medications will help pinpoint foods to include or avoid.

At SHC, nutrition services are a key factor to helping seniors maintain safety and independence. These services are flexible and custom-tailored to the senior’s needs – whether that is preparing a nutritious meal, coordinating Meals On Wheels or following a disease-specific diet. If we may help you or a loved one, or if you have questions about senior nutrition or our services, please contact us. We’d love to help!

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