Senior Citizen's Guide digital books
Senior Citizen's Guide to Southwest Ohio

Eating Healthy As We Age

Getting older isn’t easy, and ensuring proper nutrition can be challenging for individuals of any age. And because vitamin and mineral deficiencies are hard to track in older adults, it is very important to become more familiar with how to meet the body’s nutritional needs. The aging process changes how the human body assimilates and absorbs vitamins and, as one ages, dietary needs change. As a person grows older, metabolism slows, muscle mass diminishes, appetite fluctuates, bones become weak and brittle, and the body’s organs do not operate as efficiently. Disease becomes apparent and activities require more energy. However, good nutrition acts as a powerful intervention in the aging process. Eating a well-balanced diet is key to the prevention of chronic disease and dementia and ensures one will be healthy and strong for many years to come.

To guarantee a long and healthy life, seniors can make simple changes in their diet to prevent disease and increase energy. Below are some easy recommendations to follow for optimal senior nutrition:

It is common for many seniors to lack the energy to prepare their own foods, often feeling that cooking for themselves is tiresome and time-consuming or that travel arrangements to obtain supplies are too difficult. If this is an issue, inquire at your local grocery store about home delivery. Another great option is to request a neighbor, friend or high school student shop for you in exchange for a small fee. For those whose finances allow for some professional help, there are nutritionists, dieticians, or personal chefs who may be willing to purchase groceries and come to your home to prepare meals for you that are specifically designed to meet any special dietary needs you may have. In addition, most communities have a Meals on Wheels service available to seniors.

Changing one’s lifestyle and diet can be overwhelming and discouraging so it is best to incorporate changes slowly. Choose one area of your diet to improve upon and once you become accustomed, move on to the next change. It is more important to have progress than perfection. Changing to a healthier diet will bring numerous benefits resulting in a better quality of life, less illness, and more independence. It is often said that you are what you eat, so by choosing simple, more nutrition-packed and less processed food, you will feel more energetic and light, both inside and out. When you feel good, you look good!

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