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Elderly Nutrition 101: Ten Foods to Keep You Healthy
By
aging.com

Proper diet and a healthy life go hand in hand, especially for older adults over the age of 65. According to reports by World Health Organization (WHO), a majority of the diseases that older people suffer are as a result of lack of proper diet.

For instance, fat in food is linked cancer of the prostate, colon, and pancreas. Degenerative diseases such as osteoporosis and diabetes are also diet-related, more specifically with micronutrients. Micronutrients deficiency is shared among the elderly due to factors such as reduced food intake and lack of variety in their diet.

Foods High In Omega-3 Fatty Acids

These fatty acids are important for people of all ages including elderly people as they help prevent inflammation which can cause cancer, rheumatoid, arthritis, and heart disease. It has also been found to slow down the progression of Macular Degeneration (AMD)—a condition that leads to poor vision. Recent evidence has shown that these fatty acids can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and keep the brain alert.

Foods Rich in Calcium

Calcium helps our bodies build and maintain healthy bones. It has also been known to lower blood pressure. Unfortunately, surveys have shown that as we grow older we consume less calcium. The body’s need for calcium is so essential that, if you are not getting enough calcium, it begins to reabsorb it from the bones. This makes your bones fragile and brittle leading to osteoporosis.

Foods Rich in Fiber

As we get older, our digestive system slows down. The walls of the gastrointestinal tract thicken and the contractions are slower and fewer which may lead to constipation. Foods rich in fiber promote proper digestion by moving food through the digestive tract. These foods have also been known to reduce the risk of heart disease. Foods rich in fiber include nuts, wholegrain cereal, wholegrain bread and pasta, brown rice, brown bread, fruits, and vegetables.

Water

According to a pyramid for older adults created by researchers from Tufts University, drinking eight glasses of water daily was next to physical activity in importance to health. As you age, your body’s ability to conserve water decreases, so you don’t feel thirsty as often. However, your body still needs water. Dehydration causes drowsiness and confusion among other side effects so it is essential to stay hydrated. If you are taking the recommended high fiber diet, you need to drink a lot of water this is because fiber absorbs plenty of water. In order not to get overwhelmed by the quantity, you can put the water in small bottles and drink it throughout the day as opposed to storing it in a big container.

Foods Rich in Iron

Iron plays a vital role in the body. It produces hemoglobin which carries oxygen in the blood from the lungs to the rest of the body. When you are not consuming enough iron, there’s a limited supply of oxygen to the body tissues. This results in feeling tired and lethargic. Iron deficiency is known as anemia.

Foods Rich in Vitamin C

Vitamin C has antioxidant properties which are believed to prevent cancer and heart disease. It is also involved in the production of collagen, which gives your skin elasticity and gets rid of dead skin cells giving you healthy skin. It also helps repair bones and teeth and aids in healing wounds. This essential vitamin can be found in fruits and vegetables. Supplements are also available with approval from your healthcare provider.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium in the body slowing down the rate at which bones lose calcium. It aids in the maintenance of bone density; therefore, preventing osteoporosis. New evidence shows that it may also protect against chronic conditions like multiple sclerosis, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and rheumatoid osteoporosis. Vitamin D is produced by the skin when it is exposed to sunlight.

Foods Rich in Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is responsible for maintaining nerve function, production of red blood cells, and DNA. As you age, absorbing the vitamin from food is more laborious. You can, therefore, consult your health care provider about supplements. It is found in dairy products like milk and meat and poultry products.

Foods Rich in Potassium

Surveys show that many older Americans do not take the recommended 4700 mg of potassium daily. Potassium aids in cell function reduces blood pressure and lowers your chances of kidney stones. It is also believed to strengthen bones. It is found in fruit and vegetables like bananas, prunes, and potatoes. While lack of potassium is a problem, too much of it is dangerous, so consult your doctor before getting started on supplements.

Magnesium

Magnesium plays a crucial role in 300 physiological functions. It keeps your heart healthy, your immune system, and your bones strong. As you grow older, your body’s ability to absorb magnesium decreases. Some medication for older people decreases the absorption of magnesium. It is mainly found in whole grains, nuts, fresh fruit, and vegetables.

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