Aging comes with many challenges. For some of us the golden years aren’t that golden. But we can maximize our health. One way to do that is to have a healthy diet for senior citizens.
We seniors have some requirements as we age that we didn’t necessarily worry about in our younger years. In this article I hope to list the vital nutrients we need to maintain our health.
I would imagine we all are familiar with healthy eating habits. I hope each of you are practicing that everyday. But older adults need to be sure they are getting certain vitamins to safeguard their health.
Those vitamins are D and B12. We need the D so we have strong bones and can avoid the possibility of osteoporosis. We need B12, because as we age our bodies don’t absorb it as well as when we were younger. Read further to see what you can do about it and what foods you should be eating.
What are whole grains? A whole grain is defined as any grain that contains the endosperm, germ, and bran. What, you may ask, are those? And why does it matter? The endosperm is the nutrient source for the seed, providing protein and starch. Bran is the outer coating for the grain. And the germ is the embryo of the grain.
Guess what the germ has plenty of? Vitamin B! And in the processed or refined grains, you only have the endosperm. So you are missing out on the Vitamin B altogether. Whole grains are also packed with antioxidants and other nutrients, as opposed to processed grains.
Not only do whole grains provide more nutrients and vitamins, but they provide more fiber as well. Fiber helps things move through the digestive tract, ensuring healthy bowel activity. And who doesn’t want that?
Where can I find whole grains? You should be able to find whole grain products at any grocery store. But read the label and make sure it says 100% whole grain. If you want to be even more careful, go for organic grains. You aren’t putting so many chemicals in your body.
What are the best? Do your research and experiment. An article from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics lists barley, oats, quinoa, amaranth, and teff as the best. It may be a bit of a challenge to find these unless you shop at a health food store.
What is lean meat? Lean meats are meats low in fat content. Those include skinless chicken, fish, and trimmed pork and beef. For beef and pork look for labels that say “loin” or “round”. These are the lowest in fat.
But you can get your protein in other ways, which are even lower in fat. Try beans, peas, lentils, eggs, and even quinoa. What other protein sources do you know of?
Protein is vital for our body to build new tissue and healthy red blood cells. Meat contains iron, which as we age, can be depleted as well. Lean meat is best because it doesn’t add fat, which especially in our Western diet, we get too much of.
If you are eating meat, I recommend grass fed. You are getting food that is free from chemicals. They cost more, but your health is worth it, isn’t it?
Diary is the food that provides the needed Vitamin D. And calcium! It is recommended you choose low fat or nonfat products. The foods you should consume are milk, cheese, and yogurt. These will assist in bone health and strength.
Yogurt can especially help our digestive health. I have stomach issues and I consume yogurt on a daily basis. Yogurt provides healthy probiotics which have many health benefits, like boosting the immune system and keeping your digestive tract working. For further benefits of probiotics, see this article from Healthline.
We seniors were brought up on drinking milk, which I think works in our favor. Let’s keep up the good work by keeping our bones strong.
Fruits and Vegetables
Do I need to say anything about these foods? Probably not, but nevertheless, I believe most of us don’t get enough of fruit or vegetables. These wonder foods provide lots of nutrients, vitamins, and fiber. And they are low in fat! The current recommendation is still five servings of these. A serving size is usually ½ cup.
I wrote an article on strengthening the immune system, and how fruits and vegetables can assist in that. Check it out here: How To Strengthen the Immune System.
A green salad; the darker the greens the better; like spinach or kale. Or make a veggie smoothie with these greens.
Carrot sticks for a snack.
½ an apple with peanut butter or a slice of cheese.
Fruit in a smoothie you made with yogurt.
A veggie soup like broccoli.
Do you have some other ideas? Something you love? Tell us about them!
A few of those suggestions above need a blender. If you don’t have one, and want to buy one, here’s a link to a Ninja Blender on eBay. I receive a referral fee if you purchase it from this link.
I am not a healthcare professional. But I am a senior and want to have the best health possible in these later years. And I did extensive research to bring you this information. If you are concerned about your dietary needs, I recommend you contact a nutritionist or dietician. Most healthcare plans have this available to you.
Comments and questions are welcome. Share here to help others. I would especially love some recipes to add to my food plan that promote health.